Only 3 weeks ago Mayor Van der Laan took a step back as mayor with a powerful and emotional letter to all ‘Amsterdammers’ and now the sad news has arrived that he has passed away.
According to his spokesman, he died “at home in peace”. Van der Laan had been seriously ill for some time, suffering from lung cancer. On September 18, he informed the inhabitants of his city that he had been treated, this wasn’t working and that he, therefore, resigned his duties. He wanted more time for his family and all his duties were taken over by Mayor Kajsa Ollongren, who had already taken up several of his tasks since his diagnosis in early 2017.
Everybody feels the loss
The municipality of Amsterdam reports that the city council and the employees of the municipality are saddened by the loss of their beloved mayor. The same can be said for its citizens:
When he wrote his goodbye letter 1000’s of people gathered outside his home, to give him a standing ovation and show him support and love. His wife came outside to thank the people, saying that Van der Laan would have loved to stand there himself, but was too ill to come outside. One photographer managed to take a picture of him looking at the crowds:
— De Telegraaf (@telegraaf) 20 september 2017
The King just visited him on his sickbed, a photo of them of a few weeks back with Willem-Alexander gently supporting the sick Van der Laan touched many of our hearts.
The story of Eberhard van der Laan
Van der Laan was born in Leiden and studied law in Amsterdam at the VU – graduating cum laude in 1983. He then went on to work as a lawyer, being the co-founder of the firm Kennedy Van der Laan.
In 1976 he became a member of the PvdA and in the 1980s he worked as a political assistant of the Amsterdam Governor Jan Schaefer. Between 1990 and 1998 he sat for the PvdA in the Amsterdam Council. In 2008 he succeeded Ella Vogelaar as Minister for Housing, Neighborhoods and Integration. Since 2010 he was the much-beloved mayor of Amsterdam.
He truly made Amsterdam and the world a better place.
Take care of our city and of each other.