photo: Sam Jones

AMSTERDAM – The first youth mayor of Amsterdam is a Dutch Caribbean islander from Sint Maarten. On Monday Avianka Aventurin (28) was inducted as the new youth mayor by the mayor of Amsterdam Femke Halsema during a ceremony at a packed Theater de Meervaart.

Citizens could cast their votes for a month on one of three candidates, Achraf El Johari (22), Joshua de Roos (22), and Avianka. All three of them made it to the last round.

An independent jury and the votes cast online eventually determined that Avianka Averturin would be the new youth mayor of Amsterdam. But who is Avianka Aventurin? Caribbean Network followed her during her campaign.

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By Sam Jones [English subtitles available]

Aventurin wants the youth to become more visible. She also wants help vulnerable young individuals. She connects with them because she was abused as a child. Not by her parents, she says hastily. She was beaten bloody however and this had its effects on her, with suicidal thoughts being one of the consequences.

Work experience
Luckily that’s all behind her now and Aventurin works as an executive-assistant at the social assistance bureau MaDi in Amsterdam Zuidoost. Before working there she set up the YoPro! youth project in Bijlmer and worked for the Ministry of Justice.

Aventurin is fluent in Dutch but that wasn’t the case a few years back because she was brought up with English as her first language. To learn Dutch she worked hard and was tutored for seven years.

Youth council
The new youth mayor is acutely aware of her background: “My mom was a single mother. I don’t have a university degree: I’m a stacker.” She wants to be a role model for young individuals who identify with her story. She also wants to set up a youth council with the other candidates El Johari and De Roos.