Councilor Charlotte van der Meij; water lover from Nieuw-Vennep

Charlotte van der Meij has been an alderman of Haarlemmermeer since 2022. She has lived in Nieuw-Vennep for years, but the water really makes her heart beat faster. Visit Haarlemmermeer talked to her about her motivation as an alderman, favorite places in Haarlemmermeer and her tips for residents and visitors. Curious? Then read on!
Charlotte van der Meij by the water

Born in Sassenheim, but now happily in Nieuw-Vennep

Charlotte grew up in Sassenheim, just on the other side of the Kaag. She is therefore very happy that she still lives so close: “Nieuw-Vennep is close to my family in Sassenheim. The Kaag is also a familiar area to me and it has also played an important role in my life. I learned to swim and sail there. I still enjoy doing both. For example, I do open water swimming in the Ringvaart. And we like to go out with our sailboat.”

Waited too long to enter politics

“When I was 16 I attended a political café in Sassenheim. Afterwards, four different parties came to me and asked if I wanted to join them. I didn't think I was ready for that at the time. But the seed was planted. In recent years before I entered politics, I worked as a professional lawyer in the Social Domain. I was elected as a municipal councilor in 2019 and have now been an alderman for about 1,5 years. My portfolio includes a large part of the social domain, including youth care. But also climate and energy and permits. These things surprisingly often go hand in hand.”

Venneperhout during the sunset
Exterior of steam pumping station Halfweg

“I have seen Haarlemmermeer change”

“Haarlemmermeer has gone through a big change. I saw Getsewoud being built. But even now a lot is still changing. You see this, for example, in Schiphol Trade Park; the most sustainable business park in the world. But we need to get more ahead of the facts. I often use a metaphor as an example. I have four photos of young children hanging in my office as art. Because I have youth in my portfolio, many people think quickly. And that's right. But it has a double meaning for me. Because if we do not think about a more sustainable future now, the question is whether those children will still be able to live comfortably in Haarlemmermeer in 40 years' time, with dry feet.”

Favorite walking areas in Haarlemmermeer 

“I have a dog, so I walk a lot and I like to do that. My secret favorite spot is Zwaansbroek. It is wonderfully quiet there. But I also often walk from home in the Venneperhout or on the Kleine Vennep Estate. On hot days we occasionally go to the Groene Weelde, so our dog can enjoy a swim. It really is a luxury to have such green areas close to home, to clear my mind after a busy day. Or just go out at the weekend with a picnic basket and enjoy the peace and quiet.”

My secret favorite spot is Zwaansbroek. It is wonderfully quiet there.

Cultural and culinary highlights

"It Steam pumping station in Halfweg has a special place in my heart. My father was a volunteer here for almost 25 years. And I even got married there last year. We often came there with the children during the Steam weekends. Super cool to give the children this piece of history. But the Stompetoren and the historic forts are also worth a visit. For example it CRASH Air War and Resistance Museum in the Fort near Aalsmeer. A very cool place! When we have a bite to eat somewhere, we often look for it close to home. For example with Lola's, Orries of Bistro Jacques. "

“I am very curious about the developments in PARK21. I really hope that there will be opportunities for young and old to recreate and attend activities and events. I think residents will be very happy with a large green lung in the middle of Haarlemmermeer. I hope that we can shape this more and more in the coming years.”