Free and connected in Groningen

Beeld: Arend-Jan Wonink

This is the English translation & summary of the D66 Groningen election manifesto for the municipal elections on March 16th 2022. It sets out what we want to achieve in Groningen. We have managed to get a lot of things done these last 4 years. But there is still plenty to do.

We are not building enough affordable houses. Rental homes are scarce and expensive. Too many residents are trapped, either in poverty or on benefits. And the reinforcement of houses is still not on track. It still makes a difference where in Groningen you are born. Children from different backgrounds meet and mingle less and less.. We want to grant any child every opportunity for a good future. It is time for action. 

That is why we are moving forward with the Enriched School Day. So that all children will have the opportunities they need to develop themselves. We are going to build more affordable and more diverse housing. Our environment is becoming greener, we are building more cycle paths, and we are going to generate sustainable energy. 

We want to make cultural and entrepreneurial Groningen as vibrant as ever. And we will also support those who have had a tough go of it. That’s is what the 2022 municipal elections are about. 

D66 wants everybody to be able to be themselves visibly. We are against exclusion and discrimination. We look to the future with an open mind. We want a society that connects. Where people are not at odds with one another.

We stand for freedom, equal opportunities and sustainability. That doesn’t happen overnight. For that, we need political courage. And your support. 

Are you with us?

Tom Rustebiel
Frontrunner D66 Groningen

Take a look at our flyer here

Beeld: Arend-Jan Wonink

Affordable housing and construction

Groningen belongs to everyone. But, due to the housing crisis, the inclusive character of our entire society has been put under pressure. Due to severe shortage on the housing market and the one-sided supply prices are rising. We want to put an end to that. By building more for the right demographic. With greater diversity in types of homes. And by protecting the housing market against those who want to take advantage of the situation.

  • Make both renting and homeownership affordable again by quickly rolling out a more realistic housing policy 
  • Continue the construction of new social rental housing, along with new free sector rental homes, as well as affordable private housing. 
  • Create a more varied and affordable range of housing. 
  • Allow people to choose and create their own form of living via a Collective Private Commissioning (Collectief Particulier Opdrachtgeverschap (CPO)). 
  • Block access for investors via a ban on purchasing, an anti-speculation clause and residence requirement.

Sustainable construction

We want to safeguard our beautiful natural landscape. That’s why we opt for incorporation, rather than expansion. This means building on existing locations near public transport hubs. Furthermore, we want to speed up new construction. That is why we support the Deltaplan for the North. When the Lelylijn is constructed, we want to build a sufficient number of new homes that fit within the landscape. 

  • When building new homes, take our natural environment into account. The green spaces between the villages in our municipality must remain green. 
  • Keep or make the area around new homes green. No greenery, no construction. 
  • Make the city centre greener: That is healthy and it prevents heat stress or flooding. 
  • Limit car traffic by making amenities available within a 20-minute bike ride.

Lively residential areas

Living and growing up together creates a sense of community. That is why we want our neighbourhoods and villages to be mixed. We want to prevent the undesirable clustering of people with higher or lower incomes or with different backgrounds. We also have to look beyond the demands of today and anticipate the demands of tomorrow.

  • Make the housing supply more varied and affordable. 
  • Allocate homes appropriately: give family homes to families, spread status holders across the municipality, and allow senior citizens to relocate without rent increases. 
  • Make new neighbourhoods more attractive. Ensure the availability of cultural, social and sporting facilities from the onset, as well as shopping centres. And start planting trees. 
  • Make it easier for people to meet each other and relax outdoors, for example by providing more seating in public spaces

Eye for students

Students and young people are a very important part of our community. It is very important to spread students well across the city. We are also concerned about so-called ‘short stay’ rental contracts, and the renting of studios or student rooms by slumlords for exorbitant high rents. The regular dorm room, with communal facilities, should make a comeback.

  • Prevent the rental of studios and student rooms by slumlords 
  • Take responsibility for the accommodation of international students together with educational institutions.

Beeld: D66

Inclusive and diverse

D66 wants everybody in our municipality to feel free to be themselves. We stand for a society where everybody has the opportunity to participate

  • Whenever any new policy is introduced, always first ask whether or not anybody is excluded. 
  • Create an inclusive labor market including by maintaining sheltered workplaces. And stimulate businesses to act inclusively. 
  • Eliminate disadvantages due to analphabetism, functional illiteracy, or digital illiteracy. 
  • Welcome newcomers with open arms and give them the opportunity to follow language courses or language internships. 
  • Remove physical barriers in public spaces and public buildings.

Combat poverty, promote equality

We do not want children in our municipality to grow up in poverty. Poverty often goes hand in hand with other problems, such as debt, unemployment, illiteracy, and lack of digital skills. We want to do something about that.

  • Prevent long-term poverty by intervening earlier, always in consultation with people themselves. 
  • Recognize signs of poverty more quickly 
  • Schools, community centers and libraries can help fight poverty. 
  • Improve debt counseling.

Beeld: D66

Make way for arts and culture

Arts & culture makes us all happy. Unfortunately, the government is not inclined to spend much on this sector. D66 wants the municipal government to do more to support arts & culture. That is good for everyone: for education, for the economy, and for our society.

  • Ensure that arts and culture are available for all our residents, not just those in the city centre. 
  • Encourage cultural institutions to do more, in order to achieve more. 
  • Build both a large pop venue, and also expand the number of more affordable smaller stages for bands and amateur arts . 
  • Make sure that there are more creative breeding grounds, places where entrepreneurs and artists can freely experiment.

Excellent education for everyone

D66 wants everyone to be free to make their own choices. Freedom for everyone, but nobody left behind. That should start early on, with our children. It should not matter where you are born or where you live. Everybody should have access to lifelong learning.

  • Introduce the Enriched School Day in all schools. Children will attend school for the entire day. A healthy hot lunch will be provided at school, and after school they can take part in cultural and sports activities . And there will be free tutoring when needed. 
  • Free childcare provisions for all children. Also for children whose parents are unemployed. 
  • Free tutoring at all schools, in both primary and secondary education.

Beeld: Arend-Jan Wonink

Green space

D66 wants to keep our municipality green, liveable and healthy. A healthy and green municipality is also pleasant for residents and tourists and an attractive place for newcomers and companies to settle in.

  • Create enough greenery so every resident is only a 5 to10-minute walk away from a stroll through nature. 
  • Plant trees along cycling and walking paths, and provide for lively roadsides and insect-rich crops. 
  • Provide municipal space for picking gardens and parks, which are developed and maintained by neighbourhoods, together with local schools. 
  • Implement a more strict felling policy, while preserving monumental trees.
  • Develop more sports facilities in green areas, such as cycle or walking paths, routes for jogging or skating and boot camps. 
  • Create ‘tiny parks’ throughout the municipality.

Dampen the effects of climate change

As a municipality, we can dampen the effects of climate change at a local level. More greenery absorbs more heat and water, creates better CO2 absorption, and contributes to cleaner air throughout the region. Green and covered walking paths cool the city centre in summer. Green gardens in villages and the outskirts of the city can allow excess rainwater to be drained. The municipality can do a lot to make building and living more sustainable. 

  • Provide more green facades and roofs. And make bare terrain green for better water management. 
  • Make arrangements with housing corporations to make social housing more sustainable.
  •  Start with the new policy on landscape for all spatial developments. This means more space for recreation, seating, waste bins, and green spaces where animals can roam freely. 
  • Improve the management of local greenery in villages and the outskirts of the city 
  • Protect our distinct cultural heritage in the earthquake zone.
  • Prevent village views from being negatively impacted on a large scale.

Sustainable mobility

Sustainable mobility means we ensure residents and visitors can keep connected, by bike, train, or bus.

  • Create more fast main cycle routes, cycle tunnels and cycle streets. 
  • In (re-)designing roads, give cyclists priority more often 
  • Adapt existing cycling lanes, so that regular cyclists and e-bikes do not interfere with each other. And adjust the maximum speed for e-bikes within the city centre. 
  • Only allow scooters in car lanes, and only allow electric scooters within the city centre. 
  • Increase the number of trains to the Randstad, Leeuwarden and Bremen-Hamburg. 
  • Build the Lelylijn: Travel to the Randstad within 90 minutes. 
  • We want to finally build the Wunderlinie and the Nedersaksenlijn. 
  • Build more train stations: At the Suikerzijde and on the Zernike Campus.

Safe and sustainable traffic

All residents must be able to safely participate in traffic. That includes children, senior citizens and people with disabilities

  • Make streets and squares of the city centre, as well as centres of neighbourhoods and villages car-free. 
  • Ensure that schools are safely accessible for cyclists and pedestrians. 
  • Bring the traffic exam back to all schools. 
  • Remedy unsafe traffic situations as quickly as possible: for example the Eikenlaan bicycle crossing and the Helperbrink tunnel. 
  • Set the maximum speed in all districts at 30 kilometres per hour. 
  • Make the city centre car-free. 
  • Ban parking on streets and along canal quays. 
  • Build a new parking garage for bicycles on the western side of the city centre. 
  • Keep the city centre accessible for all by implementing smart transportation options. 
  • Install more public charging points for electric cars.

Energy-conscious sociey

We want a society that is not dependent on fossil fuels, such as natural gas. That is why we need to conserve more energy, create clean energy, and strongly reduce CO2 and nitrogen emissions. You do not have to generate what you do not use

  • Insulate homes & buildings. 
  • Ensure that measures are affordable for everyone, including people with a limited budget. 
  • Over time, switch to natural gas-free housing, starting with new construction. 
  • Generate more clean energy, starting with more solar panels on roofs. 
  • Help residents who want to start their own energy cooperative. 
  • Support farmers who want to realise their own wind turbine. 
  • When developing plans for wind farms or solar fields first consult and involve local residents and ensure that they can benefit from it as well.

Beeld: Arend-Jan Wonink

Groningen growth

The Groningen economy is bouncing back after a difficult period. The unemployment rate is falling, and business is picking up again. However, there are also entrepreneurs in our municipality who have suffered due to the corona pandemic. Many businesses were able to make use of government support. Still, jobs
were lost and contracts were not continued and some companies have had to decide to permanently close their doors. But the Groningers are not quitters. Keep calm and carry on, to keep Groningen growing.

  • Embrace new labour market developments such as the deliberate choice to be a freelancer (ZZP) 
  • Provide more breeding grounds for artists and entrepreneurs. 
  • Promote working at home by expanding access to high-quality internet. 
  • Make the Groningen labour market more appealing for young people and ensure that they can find work or start their own business. 
  • Create a more inclusive labour market with opportunities for all. That includes those with disabilities or those who find themselves otherwise challenged. Therefore, maintain sheltered workspaces. 

Circuclar economy

In a circular economy we use as few primary resources as possible. We do not throw anything away, but rather use waste as the basis for new products. Along with creating more jobs, this speeds up the transition towards a greener local economy. In addition, everyone should be able to participate in a circular economy 

  • Support businesses that want to transition to a circular way of doing business. 
  • Public purchasing and tendering should be subject to circular economy requirements. 
  • Collect and process waste in the most environmentally friendly way possible. 
  • Reward sustainable living: Those who pollute less have lower costs. 
  • Prevent littering by placing more waste bins and emptying these more often. 
  • Extend the opening hours for the municipal waste collection centres, so that residents and businesses can deposit their waste outside of office hours.

Entrepreneurship and innovation

Entrepreneurs in our community are resilient and have refocused on new plans and projects during the recent crisis. D66 wants the municipality to do more to encourage entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and realise innovations.

  •  Invite new entrepreneurs to set up or start their business here and remove obstacles for entrepreneurial talent. 
  • Simplify the permit application process and remove unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles. 
  • Open up the municipality as a testing ground for innovations, for example by cooperating with small businesses, the Hanze university of applied sciences, the RUG and the UMCG. 
  • Give entrepreneurs control and stay tuned to their ideas. 
  • Strengthen the links between education and entrepreneurs. 
  • Give extra attention to companies that do not only want to make a profit, but that also pursue a clear social goal. 
  • Cooperate across municipal and other boundaries to strengthen the economic potential of the entire North. 
  • Allow businesses to determine their own opening hours.

Digital society

Digitalisation is more and more a determining factor in our society. Digital transformation is paramount to tackle climate change and keep healthcare affordable. That same digital transformation is an absolute precondition for businesses to keep the economy flexible and agile. At the same time, we must counter the dark sides of digitalisation, such as data leaks or privacy violations. Technology must serve people in a justifiable manner. 

  • Take advantage of the opportunities of big data while continuing to invest in digital safety and the fight against cybercrime. 
  • Improve digital accessibility for our residents.
  • Make sure all educational institutions have access to high-speed internet 
  • Primary and secondary education should prepare our children and young people for the digital society. 
  • Strengthen online democracy 
  • Make all digital products of the municipality accessible to everyone and free of algorithms that use risk assessment profiles. 
  • All residents should have access to their own digital file. 
  • Find out which algorithms the municipality uses in order to better safeguard privacy and to prevent discrimination.