Who am I?

If you consider to vote for me, you are entitled to learn more about who I am – especially since the Covid-19 pandemic prohibits meeting in person for the time being.

Originally from the Netherlands, I have lived in Tampere since 2006 and in Finland for more than 30 years. Having had to integrate into this society and grateful for the many blessings it provides, I have a keen eye for issues that could still be improved.

In the Netherlands I obtained a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and continued my studies in Finland at the University of Oulu, where I received the Licentiate’s degree. Already while working at the University I accepted tasks, which are not usually regarded to be a part of a researcher’s work; I arranged further education programmes to educate people in IT. From 1996 I have been employed by VTT, where my tasks have included both research and management. In my work, I have created both national and international networks and have led large cooperative research projects. In my collaboration I always aim to achieve the best possible results by giving room to innovative ideas and each person’s personality and creativity. My current focus on smart health solutions has provided me with insight in the challenges of healthcare, and the possibilities for digital solutions to solve them at least partially.

My home is a place for rest and growth. Our children have left the home, but their upbringing taught much about the functioning of the society (school, healthcare, hobbies), and the challenges they face. My spouse’s has opened my eyes for the social unfairness that still exists in Finland. It motivates me to want to contribute to improve the quality of life of children, parents, elderly and immigrants.

My own immigrant background and diverse circle of foreign friends has taught me about cultural differences and values. Foreign eyes possibly even spot better, where the Finnish society can still be improved, but also help to recognise the many matters to be grateful for. Immigrants are not a homogeneous group, instead their social situation can be very different. Some need more support to cope than others, but every immigrant wants to be a valuable part of this society. The society itself also benefits when everybody, each with their own personality, finds a place where he/she is appreciated and where he/she can deploy their abilities – independent of whether he/she is an immigrant or Finn by birth. The city has a duty to help everyone find that place. 

Some years ago, when dual nationality became an option, I obtained the Finnish nationality. There are not many benefits for an EU citizen to get a Finnish passport, but I experienced Finland as my second home and wanted to make that official. I wanted to be a real part of this society and build it together with others. I now live in Tampere and want to build it together with you. In my opinion, only the people living in an area really know what improvements are needed there. We need support for area-based associations and possibilities to influence on the decisions affecting an area. Fortunately, Tampere has already made provisions for local democracy, but a lot still needs to be done. The possibilities of the city are nevertheless limited and the effort of volunteers to improve their area is invaluable. So the improvement of the city does not only need good council members, but also the effort of local residents in their own area.