Pieter Smit, the 54-year-old mayor of the municipality of Oldambt, died of a heart attack on Tuesday evening.
Smit was known as an open and approachable public figure, both in person and online. The late mayor offered shelter to refugees in Oldambt and advocated for legalising cannabis cultivation. He had recently made progress against the proliferation of recreational laughing gas use: several businesses in town no longer sell it in the weekends due to his efforts.
Dagblad van het Noorden writes that news of his sudden death came as a shock to the region and the nation. “I’m stunned to hear of the unexpected passing of mayor Pieter Smit. Oldambt has lost a dedicated and approachable mayor”, D66 national leader Alexander Pechtold wrote. PvdA MP Henk Nijboer said, “This is such unbelievably sad news. Pieter Smit was not only a personable and devoted public servant, but he really stood up for the interests of the residents of Oldambt.”
According to RTV Noord, Smit became the mayor of Oldambt in 2010 after serving as an alderperson for D66 in Zoetermeer. Smit also served as the chair of both the supervisory board at Groningen Airport Eelde and the Groningen Municipalities Association.
Smit was born in 1963 in Delfzijl. He is survived by his wife and two children.