A Cuban delegation visited the Netherlands beginning of December. As part of an European Union funded exchange programme they visited VNG to know more about the Dutch decentralisation practice. The Cubans were specifically interested to know how municipalities are doing with youth care and services for the elderly and disabled.
With Alfredo Jam Massó (Advisor to the Minister of Economy and Planning) Alfredo García Jiménez (Director of the National Institute for Economic Research), Johana Odriozola Guitart (Legal Director of the Ministry of Economy and Planning), and Lissette Pérez Hernández (Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Havana) we visited Dordrecht, Breda, Zoetermeer and Gouda.
The Cuban visitors thought the inter-municipal cooperation of Drechtsteden an interesting example for Cuba of how certain municipal tasks can be shared. The Cubans took much note of the Dutch practice of organization on the basis of consensus. At a job creation centre in Gouda Alfredo Jam – head of the delegation – pointed out that they were pleasantly surprised to see how Dutch municipalities take such a highly ‘people-centred’ approach.
After five busy & interesting days in the Netherlands, including a brief acquaintance with Sinterklaas, the delegation headed to Finland to familiarize themselves with a Scandinavian version of local governance.