Shadow Mayor

I ran for mayor and designed a campaign between fiction and reality

In the Netherlands new mayors are selected by the town council and the governor of the province. Everyone aged 18 or above can apply. On paper, this is a transparent system. In reality, there is a lot of secrecy involved.

My hometown Arnhem was looking for a new mayor in 2013. As I just turned 18 that year, I officially applied for the job. Surprisingly, some people took my candidacy really seriously. And then it got interesting.

Website (Dutch): Schaduwburgemeester
I worked on identity design, campaign, making people laugh

"Bye Pauline! (former mayor)
I'll take it over" - Shadow mayor

The logo is a combination of Foursquare's mayorship crown and the seal of the city of Arnhem

"Hi Clemens! (Governor of the province) Let's throw a deal"

I received a letter:

"Dear Ms. (error) v/d Horst, I confirm your application for the office of mayor. Hereby the procedure and some more information about the city"

The campaign got press coverage and made people smile in Arnhem and in China.

RNW - "Young mayor candidate: Democracy is a celebration"

De Gelderlander - "Teenager Joca wants Pauline's chain of office"

"Dear Mr. v/d Horst, on behalf of the governor I want to inform you that you are not selected for the second round of the procedure."


Later, a friend did something similar in the city of Utrecht. I came up with a slogan and designed a campaign poster that was featured in various national media outlets.