Author Archives: Platform voor integratie

Sad news from Heemstede

On Thursday, January 6, a news circulated on social media that a 17-year-old boy named Sam Hooftman from Overveen is missing. Sam never came home on the night of Wednesday after a party in Heemstede with his friends. The message of his disappearance was widely shared on social media, his mother and brother asked everyone to look out for Sam. According to his friends, Sam left the house on Leidsevaartweg near Heemstede-Aerdenhout station at around 00:40 on his way, but never arrived home. On Thursday, January 6, the day after he went missing, the police as well as his friends, loved ones, local residents and volunteers who joined the group via the social media appeal, searched for Sam.

On Friday 7 January a body was found by the police in the Leidsevaart. Then the heartbreaking news came out: unfortunately, it concerns the missing Sam. The investigation by the police showed that Sam had cycled along the Leidsevaart that night and fell into the water because of a fatal accident and drowned. Sam’s death caused a stir in the Netherlands, but especially in the area where he lived and where his body was found. A sea of ​​flowers arose along the Leidsevaart where Sam had fallen into the water. A petition was also raised by someone who lives near the Leidsevaart, to place long fences along the Leidsevaart to make the road safer. This petition has now been signed more than 25,000 times.

Last Wednesday a memorial tour was held in memory of Sam. Hundreds of people walked along. As a platform, we wish the family, friends and everyone who loved Sam a lot of strength!

P.S. The petition is still active and can be signed by clicking on the following link:




Corona will also remain in 2022!

The new year – 2022 – has started and the editors of Welkom Heemstede, Platform for Integration wishes all readers a prosperous and above all a healthy year.

We will all again have to do a lot to stay healthy and perhaps even more than we did in 2020 and 2021. It is hard to imagine that the corona pandemic has already lasted two years. Recently, a new virus species – Omikron – has even emerged, which is much more contagious than the previous variants.

It is therefore even more important that people get vaccinated. The chance that you will become (seriously) ill is smaller and if you do become ill, it is usually less serious and you hardly ever have to go to hospital. It is true that the protection provided by the vaccine decreases after some time and that is why the health council (a group of very good doctors) advises to take a “booster”. It is almost essential, especially now that the number of infections from Omikron is rising sharply.

On January 7, 25,000 people in the Netherlands were infected again. Although the symptoms of the disease are less severe than with previous variants, these large numbers will still lead to many people ending up in hospital.

Some people in the Netherlands – and also in other countries – say that vaccination is not necessary or is even nonsense. However, most experts find it important and useful. If you don’t trust it yourself, talk to your doctor about it. He or she can give you all the information and wants the best for you. Let’s be careful and look after each other. Stay healthy, then hopefully 2022 will be a good year.


The Netherlands now in a real lockdown

Recently, the fear of the Omicron virus has increased sharply. The virus spreads very quickly. In Amsterdam, it has strongly expelled the delta virus from 5% of the infections to 35% within three weeks. Experiences in other countries show that this displacement is rapidly increasing to close to 100%. Even if the symptoms of this virus are less severe (which is not yet certain), many people will still end up in hospital. To prevent contamination, the Dutch government announced a stricter lockdown on December 18. Catering and non-essential shops must remain closed until January 14. Supermarkets, pharmacies, drugstores, food and clothing banks and gas stations may remain open until 8 p.m. For a complete overview, see:

Schools are closed until January 9. This applies to primary schools, secondary schools and higher and university education. However, emergency care must be available for vulnerable children and children of parents with crucial professions. People should work from home as much as possible, unless that is not possible.

All indoor sports locations are closed. All outdoor sports are allowed from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Top sport and swimming lessons for A, B and C diplomas are allowed. Events are not allowed.

Hopefully, the Omicron virus will be contained with these measures. If not, the lockdown will last even longer.


Share your Christmas recipe with LAM

Something different than eating lamb for Christmas…..

As of today, the LAM museum collects festive dishes throughout the country to build the Christmas menu in the Netherlands together. ‘As a food art museum, we make a portrait of the Netherlands based on the favorite dishes of the people who live here,’ says museum director Sietske van Zanten. Through works of art related to food and consumption, the museum at Keukenhof Estate in Lisse allows visitors of all ages to see in new ways.

Sietske van Zanten: ‘A visit to the LAM is like a mini-vacation: you step into another world for a while in which you clear your head and then fill it with new ideas. Food is so much more than the nutrients it contains, it is of special value for instance during holidays like Christmas. You are what you eat. It was remarkable how quickly and enthusiastically everyone responded to this initiative. Thinking of your favorite Christmas dish brings back memories. It is a nostalgic journey through years, places, smells, sounds and precious people.”

Artist Tom Heerschop processed the submitted dishes and anecdotes on a 6 meter long Christmas table in the LAM museum, walled by deep blue walls with starry skies. “The dark blue starry skies symbolize the dark days that we will leave behind after Christmas,” says Tom Heerschop.

The LAM museum has extra opening hours during the Christmas holidays. For more information and tickets:

Everyone can add their indispensable party dish to

preferably with an anecdote or explanation. The results are available for everyone to see.


The Participation Newspaper

 Haarlem-Heemstede-Bloemendaal-Zandvoort: Meaningful work, participating in society, having colleagues, gaining work rhythm, preparing for the return to (working) society. Just a few goals for citizens in the region of Haarlem. To orientate yourself, there is now the Participation Newspaper.

On 24 pages, 40 organizations offer information on how to participate in all kinds of work activities. With 6,000 editions of this newspaper a huge audience can be reached. The newspaper is available free of charge at all library locations, at the four municipalities and at Pasmatch. The newspaper can of course also be viewed digitally and browsed via

De Participatiemarkt follows the four live editions of the Participatiemarkt, the digital edition and the series of podcast interviews. The organization of all these participation services is in the hands of Pasmatch, the Zuid-Kennemerland Library and the municipalities of Haarlem, Heemstede, Bloemendaal and Zandvoort.



Heemstede is accepting extra permit holders

The situation in the world (especially in Africa and the area around Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan) is getting worse for the people there. Many try to flee to Europe. The asylum seekers centers in the Netherlands are running full. As people cannot and in fact are not allowed to stay there, they are allocated to the Dutch municipalities according to a fixed distribution key.

Heemstede is set to accept 15 to 20 extra permit holders on top of the numbers promised earlier. According to Mayor Astrid Nienhuis, this is our moral duty. The municipality is looking for (temporary) housing for the extra status holders. That is not easy because the municipality has no large locations available. All suggestions are welcome and that is why the town hall of Heemstede is organizing an online meeting on 2 December from 7.30 pm to 9.00 pm in which residents can put forward their ideas and suggestions. Anyone can register via The town hall is looking for locations that can be used quickly and that are habitable for 15 to 20 status holders without many adjustments.

We hope that many people with ideas will take advantage of this opportunity.


In conversation with the mayor

At the beginning of my term of office there was a consultation hour with the mayor in the town hall. But I also like to come to residents myself to really have a face to face conversation with them  and that’s why I stopped doing this consultation. As nuisance was a regularly recurring topic, a “nuisance consultation” hour was set up at the same time, in which employees of the municipality and partner organizations thought along about a solution. In recent years I have visited many locations and talked to residents and entrepreneurs. Now as of November we are starting the ‘the conversation with the mayor’. Twice a month, once during the day and once in the evening, I would like to receive residents for a short conversation in the town hall. Is there something going on in the neighbourhood, do you have an idea or suggestion, are you concerned about something in your municipality? Please let me know. Of course you can still contact the officials of the municipality through the various channels, make an appointment with one of the aldermen about subjects within their portfolio or have a say in the committee meeting of the council. Matters that are subject to objection and appeal procedures cannot be discussed because the municipal executive or council still has to make a decision. I cordially invite you to ‘the conversation with the mayor’ and I would like to hear your views.

You can make an appointment for this via the board secretariat:

or telephone 023 – 548 58 51.

You are most welcome, the coffee will be ready! Of course it is also possible to invite me to the location. I’d love to come by.

Yours sincerely,

Astrid Nienhuis, Mayor of Heemstede

Special volunteer service award 2021

Every year in Heemstede an award is given to a volunteer who has distinguished him/herself in various fields. This can also be a group of volunteers. The municipality of Heemstede is also in this way trying to encourage more  people to do voluntary work. This can be done in many ways and you can, for example, look at the options on the website of WIJ

The work of volunteers and their boards has become extra difficult due to the corona pandemic. They always had to respond to the changes caused by the measures taken by the government. A lot had to be improvised and volunteers had to be extra flexible. That is why in 2021 an extra award will be given for the “improvising board” of the year.

Applications for this can be submitted until November 15, with a short motivation letter to ( The prizes will be awarded on November 27. It is not yet certain whether the event can take place in a festive way or not, for all volunteers as it  usually takes place. That depends on the severity of the corona pandemic at that time.

Sinterklaas is coming!

On November 13, the arrival of Sinterklaas and his helpers will take place. He arrives by boat at 11.30 am at the Herfstlaan near het Molentje. Sinterklaas adheres to the corona measures in force in the Netherlands. No extensive handshakes and photo opportunities. Sinterklaas greets children with a fist bump. Children can hand over their drawings at the moment there. There is entertainment by a dance group from Ballet & Dansstudio Jolein, music by Harmonie St Michaël and there is a Kidz-Dj show.

The Gluten-free Piet will be present this year  again. You can recognize him by his green/white Pete costume. Only the Gluten-free Piet wears a green/white costume. And with the Gluten logo on the chest and cape, this Pete is definitely not to be missed. Gluten-free Piet has been coming for more than 5 years now, thanks to the support of the Dutch Celiac Association (Nederlandse Coeliakie Vereniging: NCV).


  • 10.45-12.30: Kidz DJ show at the Herfstlaan
  • 11 a.m.: Pieten present at Herftslaan
  • 11.30 am: Arrival boat at the Molentje
  • 11.30-12.30: Welcome Sinterklaas accompanied by the Kidz-dj show
  • 12.30 pm: Start procession over Vrijheidsdreef towards the Town Hall accompanied by harmony St Michael, with Sinterklaas on a side-by-side tandem.
  • 12.45 pm: Reception Sinterklaas at the Town Hall by the mayor, singing songs together
  • Afterwards: Sinterklaas will walk across the square for a while
  • 1.15 pm: End of the festivities.