Mechelen Has Best Mayor of the World 2016
Bart Somers, Mayor of Mechelen, is elected Best Mayor of the World 2016. The biennial election rewards a mayor who "delivers exceptional contributions to his community and whose vision of urban living is relevant to cities around the world." For the 2016 edition, special attention was paid to the topics of integration and refugees.
In 2001, Bart Somers became mayor of Mechelen, a city of 86,000 inhabitants and up to 128 different nationalities. According to World Mayor, the organization awarding the prize, Somers transformed the municipality 'from a rather neglected city to one of the most attractive places in Belgium', and into 'a role model for integration’. World Mayor notes that twenty percent of the inhabitants of Mechelen have North African roots, yet no young Malinois Muslim went to Syria or Iraq to fight.
Bart Somers is also Member of the Flemish Parliament for Open VLD and former Minister-president of the Government of Flanders (2003-2004).