Secretary of State Berend Lindner visits Groningen for ‘Wunderline job rotation’

The German Secretary of State for the Lower Saxony region, Berend Lindner, travelled to Groningen this week to visit his Wunderline colleague, Member of the Provinicial Executive Fleur Gräper - van Koolwijk. The reason behind the visit was a so-called ‘job rotation’ between the two executives. The purpose of the two-day visit was to reinforce the Dutch-German relationship and to exchange knowledge on various European themes. Both executives are members of the Wunderline Steering group.

Group photo Steering Group (photographer: Alex Wiersma)

Behind the scenes

The job rotation is a fantastic opportunity to look behind each other’s administrative-political scenes, and to gain insight into the attitudes and methodologies applied over the border. And of course to discuss important developments. Subjects included themes such as hydrogen, international rail transport (including the Wunderline and Lely-line), as well as cross-border collaboration.

Dedication of Wunderline partners

The two-day programme was kicked off on Thursday afternoon, 21 April in the Groningen Museum, with a meeting of the Wunderline Steering group. This was the first physical meeting in two years, due to the Corona pandemic. It was followed by the Steering group members enjoying dinner together. In their speeches, Fleur Gräper - van Koolwijk and Lindner each emphasised the importance of close cross-border collaboration, and praised the dedication of the many partners involved in the Wunderline. The programme was concluded on Friday with a city tour by the Mayor of Groningen, Koen Schuiling and a visit to the Ring Zuid project.

Job rotation

The Corona situation put a temporary halt on the job rotation between Fleur Gräper - van Koolwijk and Lindner, which was now finally able to take place. Such Dutch-German job rotations are staged regularly: a couple of years ago by the mayors of Enschede and Münster, for example. They took over each other’s tasks for a week, in order to become better acquainted with the other municipality and to increase mutual understanding. The visit by Secretary of State Lindner to Groningen signified part one of the job rotation. The return visit by Gräper-Van Koolwijk to the Lower Saxony region is scheduled later this year.