Guest speaker

About Ahmed Aboutaleb

Ahmed Aboutaleb (born 1961 in Beni Sidel, Morocco) has been Mayor of Rotterdam since 2009. Previously, he represented the PvdA (Labor Party) as State Secretary for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (2007-2008) and as an alderman in Amsterdam (2004-2007).

At the age of fifteen, Aboutaleb came to the Netherlands for family reunification. He successively attended Junior Technical School, Intermediate Technical School and Technical College, graduating in Telecommunications in 1987. After a career in journalism, he moved to public services in 1991, holding positions with the Ministry of Welfare, Health and Culture, the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) and the Forum institute for multicultural development.

Aboutaleb’s voice is frequently heard in the current worldwide debate on the role of cities. He is of the opinion that cities and urban regions should play a leading role, both nationally and internationally.

Mayor Aboutaleb strongly advocates the values enshrined in the Dutch Constitution: freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the principle of non-discrimination. In his view, obtaining Dutch citizenship entails a responsibility to respect and uphold those values and to take part in building the We Society. The more people take part in such a society, the stronger and more resilient that society will be, both in good and bad times. He’ll regularly take neighbourhood strolls throughout Rotterdam to have talks with residents about what concerns them.