With the people, for the people
Since the beginning of March, Monique Smit-Thijs has succeeded Frank Colabianchi as mayor of Bertrange.
Monique came to Luxembourg in 1984, first to Luxembourg City, two years later to Bertrange.
Monique Smit-Thijs quickly settled in by joining local clubs, the parental representation and the basketball club Sparta. Her two daughters went to a public school and not to a private school. A conscious choice to integrate, the new mayor stresses, who is currently applying for the Luxembourgish citizenship.
Politics is not an end in itself
It didn’t take long for Frank Colabianchi to ask her to run in the 2005 local elections. In 2009, Monique succeeded Paul Geimer in the municipal council. In 2011, she was directly elected, just as in 2017 when she was elected second. After the resignation of Frank Colabianchi, she became mayor.
For Monique Smit-Thijs, politics is not an end in itself, but a means to an end.
“We will see with the people how we can improve the life of the commune.”
Many projects under way
A commune’s dynamic is shown by its various projects. In Bertrange, the Niki Bettendorf sports center was recently inaugurated. A new education and reception service is currently being built next to it, which will probably be able to receive up to 480 children by the end of 2024. Next door a new building with additional shops is planned.
In the oldest part of Bertrange, the Bureck district, there is a fine grocery store in the old – recently renovated – post office building, and a youth center. Local associations will soon find a place in the new building of the Center Bureck or in the converted village house.
In the Rue de Dippach, 12 two-family houses are being built with the Fonds du Logement, 4 of which belong to the commune and can be used for traditional or innovative housing. A large solar park and new communal workshops are also planned. In addition, there is the permanent maintenance and expansion of the infrastructures in a commune with around 8,600 inhabitants that will continue to grow.
More than half of them are non-Luxembourgers and more and more of them speak English, which is why we are also adapting our information policy linguistically, says the mayor.
Monique Smit-Thijs feels comfortable in her new role. She is serene, friendly and able to listen. She speaks slowly, but with persuasiveness and determination. She is well surrounded by her colleagues in the municipal council and the council of aldermen, where she has an extra good relationship with Frank Demuyser and Youri De Smet.
At home, her husband keeps her back free. And if it gets late, then he has a big advantage, Monique smiles: He is a very good cook.