The Hague inspires its citizens to remain active and vital. It provides social support to combat loneliness and to promote social participation and a sense of community. The city works closely together with organizations and communities to keep neighbourhoods accessible and safe. The Hague Age-Friendly City Policy is targeted at senior citizens (over-65s) and is designed to encourage them to play their part in implementing the programme of the city’s governing coalition. That programme is based on three priorities:
Encouraging and facilitating self-reliant living
The city addresses these issues and priorities by motivating and activating citizens and through cooperation with other organisations and enterprises. Citizens are encouraged to take the initiative and share responsibility for achieving the goals of the programme. With funds from the city and its partners, alliances are formed to meet the needs and wishes of senior citizens in The Hague.
The Hague wants to be an inclusive city, where everybody feels at home. We are proud to be the first Dutch city to join the WHO-network of Age-friendly cities. And we are also proud to introduce you to some citizens who assess the eight features on WHO’s checklist.
Outdoor spaces and buildings
An Age-friendly city is pleasant and clean.
Rene works for the municipal street cleaning service in The Hague’s Segbroek district. He is a familiar figure in the neighbourhood and always has time for a friendly chat with the residents. Mr Hagdewsing loves the street he lives in. He is very grateful to Rene and his team for the efforts they make to keep the streets clean. He also appreciates the benches in the neighbourhood, where he can sit and rest when he is out shopping.
An Age-friendly city has suitable transport for everyone. Public transport is easily accessible and affordable. And there is special transportation for those who need it.
Maarten is one of the volunteers at the local shuttle service for the elderly and disabled in Loosduinen. The service has been operating in this district since 1978, bringing residents to appointments with the doctor, to the pharmacy or to visit friends. Mrs Opperlands uses the service for her regular trips to the shopping centre.
An Age-friendly city has well-built and accessible housing for the elderly.
For many years Mr van Gameren has lived happily in his upstairs flat. However, as he gets older, climbing the stairs becomes more difficult. Thanks to a municipal subsidy, a stairlift was installed in his stairwell. Stephan installed the chairlift and explained how it worked. and Mr van Gameren can now easily get in and out of his home.
An Age-friendly city involves the elderly in leisure, social and cultural activities.
Cees and Marja are members of Hekgolf, a stage group in Laak. Elles Pleijter is it’s inspiring director and the group rehearses in De Stiel, a community centre for senior citizens. Acting is far more than just a cheerful pastime for the elderly members of the group. Cees, for example, has become far more assertive and is now really able to speak up for himself.
Civic participation and employment
An Age-friendly city includes it’s citizens and offers sufficient possibilities for senior citizens to be involved.
Saša has always said that when she retired, she would volunteer at the library in Leidschenveen-Ypenburg. And that’s precisely what she is doing. She loves the library and really enjoys helping people there. One of the visitors is local resident Louise, who finds the library a fantastic place to relax.
Communication and information
An Age-friendly city provides good communication and information.
Donald works at the Servicepoint in Escamp, where he helps people with advice and in formation about a wide range of subjects. Mrs Soknandan regularly visits the centre with questions about the rent for her home or health insurance. Donald and the other staff members are always happy to help. And since the Servicepoint is located in the community support centre, she can stay and enjoy the pleasurable activities that are organised there.
Respect and social inclusion
An Age-friendly city treats everyone with respect and encourages interaction between all age-groups.
Reinier is well into his eighties, but that is a minor detail at the Haagse Directe boxing school. With tremendous discipline, he can be found, seven days a week, exercising himself and also training others in the gym. Lakshman is one of the talented young men he trains for fights.
Community and health services
An Age-friendly city provides sufficient affordable care for everyone.
Piet has lived in a nursing home for several years. He gets all the care he needs. One of Piet’s favourite caregivers is Lahlou. The two of them get on very well. Not only does Lahlou provide for physical therapy, he also takes Piet out in his wheelchair to go shopping.
Pictures by Stichting Get Oud
Photographer: Marion Duimel
There is a lot that senior citizens are still able and willing to do and that, rather than their possible limitations, is what the city focuses on. A person’s ability to participate in society does not end because they are elderly. There is a lot that people can do to maintain their vitality. Throughout the year the city facilitates activities and awareness campaigns to promote that idea. One example is the annual ‘Month of Vitality’ which usually starts on the first Friday in October, the National Day of the Elderly.
Want to know more about the age-friendly The Hague? Download our infographic, which covers our most recent research findings in all eight focus domains. Or download the brochure for more in-depth information. Still hungry for more? Check out our action programme and our success stories.