Dutch municipalities are not very good at communication. From research I did in in the town of Geldrop, I found that one of the main issues that keep people from starting initiatives to contribute to their community was the incredibly sluggish communication with the municipality.
NuInNormaalNederlands.nl is a video communication system that makes conversation between a municipality and its citizens more effective. It consists of two connected video booths, one in the community center and one in the town hall, combined with an online discussion platform. Whenever people in the neighborhood come up with an initiative that requires deliberation with the municipality, they can send a 2-minute video message through the video booth. This message is sent to policy makers from the municipality, who then respond -also through video- within a period of one week. The conversation is being documented on the online platform so that people who are interested stay up to date.
The name NuInNormaalNederlands is Dutch for ‘This time in ordinary Dutch’. It relates to the very unclear language used by public institutions, the opposite of ordinary Dutch spoken language. The tests I did with prototypes of the video system showed that citizen-municipality communication through video was a lot more efficient than the regular way of talking with a municipal bureaucracy. For most of the public servants, the escape from formal written language was a relief as well.