Representative of the night
The most vibrant sector of Groningen is of course its nightlife. The fact that Groningen is the only large city where the bars have no closing hours is well known among students and other night owls. This Fall a representative was chosen for these people. The Mayor of the Night of Groningen was to be elected out of five nominees. An exciting contest, but foreign students might wonder: what will this ‘Nachtburgermeester’ do?
Now before you imagine him leading nightly councils in the town hall, let’s get things straight. The Mayor of the Night is not an effort to supply the city with a Mayor 24/7. In other words, he doesn’t take over when the real Mayor goes to bed. No, he is above all an ambassador for Groningen’s night life. He will become the face for the people that stay up late. This may seem all fun and games, and for a large part it is, but the Mayor of the Night will also be the ‘go to guy’ for all who think something in Groningen’s nightlife needs improvement. He is in the position to be the link between the city council, the entrepreneurs and the partying public. No job for a wallflower! Luckily, Groningen’s nightlife is the stage for many young and enthusiastic people.
Who’s up for such a job? Contenders were people who lead by example. They earned their nomination for their noticeable efforts in Groningen’s night scene. Like Harde Baas, the famous techno DJ who is taking over the country by storm. He thinks ‘a Mayor of the Night should above all be someone who understands like no one else the opinions, wishes and ideas of the people who enjoy the night life’. Or photographer and web designer Niels Knelis Meijer, he makes a more direct appeal to the crowd with his credo ‘Stay up late! The night is beautiful!’
On 7 November 2011 the combination of a professional jury and a partying crowd made the decision. Chris Garrit is the new Mayor of the Night! He has got an ambitious programme to work out. For example, he wishes to create a Nightwatch, a committee who will inventory all issues related to Groningen’s night life and a civil servant who will deal with this.
So, when you wander the streets of Groningen at night, be sure to politely take off your hat when the Mayor of the Night walks by.
By Ido Venhuizen