Heerlen municipality is taking a number of new initiatives to communicate with its residents in simple and understandable language.
For example, the first photo speech will be published in June. These are simple language written letters that contain pictures to convey things more directly. Residents who need to renew their travel documents receive their first photo letter.
Language for everyone
Heerlen is also starting the “Language for All” project. This is a training program for civil servants to rewrite letters for residents in an accessible Dutch. This concerns employees of the Civil Affairs, Permits and Social Support (WMO) departments. A group of readers will test whether the rewritten letters are really clear.
Videos have also been added to the frequently visited pages of the website of the municipality of Heerlin. This relates to frequently requested services such as applying for a passport, getting married, or relocating. The pages already have the option to read messages aloud or chat about them directly.
“Chatting and reading is greatly appreciated,” says local councilor Adriane Keulen of the Heerlen Elderly Party (OPH). “We are always trying to make our information as accessible and easy to use as possible. So that it is clear to everyone. These new initiatives fit perfectly with this.”
According to her, everyone needs a passport or ID card from time to time, “but we don’t all read easily. Or people suffer from a lack of language. Hence these new steps.”