1. What film would you recommend?
I was very impressed by “An inconvenient truth” by Al Gore. Of course, a classic like “Schindler’s list” is always good to have people put things in perspective.
2. What book would you recommend?
The biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, America’s 32nd president. A very social-minded man, impressive how he got elected four times in a row, despite the fact that he had poliomyelitis.
3. What is the best way to spend a day?
A combination of hours of hard work for the community, having a nice bite to eat, watching our football team AA Gent play (and win) and getting to spend some time with my wife and family all in one day would be perfect…
4. What surprises you most in this day and time?
The growing influence of social media on the public opinion in general and the political debate in particular. The tone of voice used by many is absolutely deplorable. Sometimes social media look like todays trenches of war.
5. What can’t you imaging the EUROCITIES conference without?
My colleagues and the EUROCITIES administrative team. The future of Europe (and even the world) will be made by cities and its citizens. Let’s never forget that our ultimate goal is to ensure the well-being of all people.
6.What do you think of when you think of Ljubljana?
A city that is about the size of Ghent, that has a long history, a clear vision on sustainability and a lot to offer to visitors, both old and new things. A really nice place all together.
7. What people/cities are you inspired by?
Copenhagen (for its openness and vision on sustainable mobility in cities) and numerous other cities in our network.
Pablo Neruda both for his political views and his poetry. And Gilbert Temmerman, socialist, mayor of the city of Ghent from 1989 until the end of 1994 and my mentor.
8. In your opinion, what does the future of the environment look like for all of us?
If we succeed in having cities all over the world inciting their citizens to take action to prevent climate change, then I think it is not too late to turn the tide… As said: the future will be made by cities and its citizens.