Speech by Jan van Zanen at the opening of the Strong Cities Network on Preventing Hate, Extremism, Polarization and Safeguarding Local Democracy, 15 november 2022


Dear Participants,


On behalf of the City of The Hague – the city of peace and justice – It is my pleasure  to welcome you to this important and timely event.

In the past years The Hague has built up extensive knowledge and expertise on the broader theme of radicalisation and extremism.

In our City an extensive network of organizations and companies on Security has developed.

Through the Strong Cities Network – and its 160 city members – we have an opportunity to come together.

United in our commitment and desire to tackle the rising extremism, hate and polarisation that poses a threat to our shared democratic values.

Global trends have local impacts, and mayors and other cities leaders have crucial roles to play.

In local prevention, in response, in building social cohesion, and in bringing together the local voices and stakeholders required of a ‘whole of community approach’.


The Strong Cities Network is uniquely placed to facilitate and drive substantive sharing and dialogue between cities, national representatives, practitioners, and policymakers.

A dialogue on how best to meet these challenges, and how to leverage our respective experiences for our collective benefit.


Let me take this opportunity to reaffirm the City of The Hague’s strong support of and commitment to the Strong Cities Network.

To its mission, and our fellow Strong City members.

It is my privilege to announce that the City of The Hague will serve as one of two Co-Chairs of a renewed International Steering Committee that will launch in early 2023.

Our co-chair will be announced in the coming months.

The City of The Hague is excited to work with our fellow members and the Management Unit to drive forward the Network’s mission.

I encourage all mayors and cities represented here today to engage and leverage this important network at this crucial time.

If you are not yet members, join us.

Work together, share experiences. Support cities to design and deploy taylor made responses to these complex challenges.

Make sure that no city faces these threats alone.