Wednesday, January 24, 2018
   
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

Amsterdam mayor steps down over lung cancer battle

Eberhard van der Laan's notice prompts outpouring of grief, as Dutch media declare popular politician a 'folk hero'.

Eberhard van der Laan

Amsterdam's mayor, who has been gravely ill for several months, has officially stepped down from office, prompting an outpouring of grief and admiration in the Netherlands.

Eberhard Van der Laan, who was diagnosed with metastasised lung cancer, said in a letter on Monday that all options of treatment were exhausted and that he could no longer fulfil his duties.

"Your support has helped me enormously," he said. "It was a great privilege to be the mayor of the prettiest and dearest city in the world."

He went on to thank Amsterdam's citizens for placing their trust in him for the past seven years and for working with him in times of "both agreement and objection".

No-nonsense approach

Van der Laan, considered by many as the most popular Dutch politician in recent years, is known for his no-nonsense approach in local politics, which earned him an ever-increasing fan base in the Netherlands.

Many used #VanderLaan on Twitter to express their support for the Labour Party politician, while Dutch media called the mayor a "folk hero".

Prime Minister Mark Rutte reacted on Twitter, calling it "very sad news," and expressing "admiration for his courage and openness".

Rutte added that the whole country "empathises with him and his family".

In 2013, Van der Laan, a heavy smoker, was also treated for prostate cancer. 

He was given a 7.7 score on his job performance in 2015, a particularly high score, according to daily newspaper De Volkskrant.

On Facebook, people called for a public round of applause at his mayoral residence on Wednesday. 

This summer, Van der Laan, 62, appeared in a wide-ranging TV interview that drew over a million viewers, who watched the live broadcast in bars and theatres across the city.  

The host of the programme asked what the mayor hoped would be his legacy in the Dutch capital.

"That it remains the kind city it is," he said, while fighting tears.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

Puigdemont, facing charges, to be Catalan president

Read More

Mahmoud Abbas urges EU to 'swiftly recognise' Palestine

Read More

Greek far right burn squats, vandalise Holocaust statue

Read More

Germany' SPD narrowly backs coalition talks with Merkel

Read More

Romania: Tens of thousands protest against corruption

Read More

Decapitated, bloodstained doll left at Amsterdam mosque

Read More

Global_News

Hundreds march in Nairobi demanding action on allegations of rape and sexual assault at Kenya's largest public hospital.

Read More

Donation

Thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity and your encouragement of an independent press!

Enter Amount:

Featured_Author

Login






Login reminder Forgot login?

Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page

Week in Pictures

From snowfall to sunshine

Palestinians hold 'day of rage'