Tjarda Struik becomes the new mayor of Leiderdorp

Last night, on June 13, the city council of Leiderdorp nominated Tjarda Struik (1986) as the new mayor. Struik’s “approachability” was an important reason to nominate her, said chairman of the confidential committee Hugo Langenberg. “Just like eleven years ago, we have made a good choice again,” he added.

Struik is currently a VVD councilor in the municipality of Zeist, where she is committed to inclusiveness and accessibility. Due to her own visual impairment, these are important subjects for her. As mayor, she wants to commit to them even more. “I'm really a people person,” said Struik. “In my opinion, accessibility is broader than the physical living environment. It is also about digital accessibility and the accessibility of our facilities,” said Struik to the local channel Sleutelstad.


In addition to her work as a council member, Struik also works as a speaker and advisor in the field of diversity and inclusion. She posts a lot about it on social media. Struik sees only about 5 percent, but that doesn't stop her from being motivated and getting the most out of her life, she says on her website. “I am not my disability and don't let my disability rule my life. My brain works fine, that's separate from my eyes,” she writes.

A year and a half ago, Struik started posting videos on TikTok under the name Blindfluencer. Her videos always start with “Hi, I'm Tjarda and I'm almost blind,” showing not only her but also her family life. Struik clarifies her intentions on her website. “Why can't someone who is blind become an influencer, vlogger, speak in public or represent society in politics? I believe all of that is possible. And that is exactly what I do! With the aim of inspiring and motivating people, always and everywhere,” she writes. Currently, she has almost 195,000 followers.

It is worth noting that Struik will not be the first virtually blind mayor of the Netherlands. At the end of last year, Marcel Oosterveer became mayor of Waalre.

Struik will be the successor to Laila Driessen, who is also VVD and will retire on her seventieth birthday after twelve years as mayor. Struik will take over the chain of office from Driessen on November 14.