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Ethnic Amsterdam

Ethnic Amsterdam: Immigrants and Urban Change in the Twentieth Century

Liza Nell
Jan Rath
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Ethnic Amsterdam
    Book Description:

    Over the centuries, people from all parts of the world have been drawn to the city of Amsterdam. While immigrants adapted to local customs, opportunities and constraints, their practices and habits have left indelible marks on their adopted city. This fascinating volume Ethnic Amsterdam: Immigrants and Urban Change in the Twentieth Century explores how twentieth-century immigrants - in bringing with them their religions, languages, cuisines, sports, and other material and immaterial aspects of their native countries - have transformed Amsterdam into a cosmopolitan city.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1120-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. List of figures, tables and images
    (pp. 7-8)
  4. Preface
    (pp. 9-10)
    Liza Nell and Jan Rath
  5. 1 Am I Amsterdam? Immigrant integration and urban change
    (pp. 11-22)
    Liza Nell and Jan Rath

    The city of Amsterdam is the largest city in the Netherlands, the Dutch capital, and – in the eyes of chauvinist Amsterdammers – the centre of the universe. But compared to Mumbai, New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Tokyo or – closer to home – Istanbul, London and Paris, Amsterdam seems a provincial backwater: while these megacities boast populations in the multi-millions, Amsterdam counts no more than 740,000 residents (O+S 2007: 20). This remains the case even when we expand our focus to include greater Amsterdam, which has just over a million residents. Greater Los Angeles, in contrast, covers an...

  6. 2 Ethnic groups in Amsterdam’s public spaces
    (pp. 23-40)
    Thaddeus Müller

    This chapter addresses how mass immigration has transformed the use and meanings of public and semi-public spaces in Amsterdam. Public space can in principle be accessed by everyone and includes streets, parks and squares; semi-public space refers to privately owned places such as shops, cafes and swimming pools used by a large part of the population. There are significant differences between how public space is used in central business districts (thepublic realm) and residential neighbourhoods (theparochial realm). In the public realm people are strangers, and interactions tend to be fleeting and anonymous (Lofland 1998: 9). In contrast, people...

  7. 3 Eating out ‘ethnic’ in Amsterdam from the 1920s to the present
    (pp. 41-60)
    Anneke H. van Otterloo

    ‘People eat where they live, work and shop’. Thus wrote Job Cohen, the mayor of Amsterdam, in the introduction to one of the city’s restaurant guides,Iens Independent Index(2004). The abundance of restaurants in Amsterdam is a recent and remarkable phenomenon. Changes in urban life, the rise of affluence, the coming of immigrants, and the diminishing of class and other social boundaries are among the reasons for this revolution in Dutch eating habits.

    Admittedly, the Dutch never held culinary matters in high esteem though this differed between social classes and between city and country dwellers. Amsterdam had its hotels...

  8. 4 Living Amsterdam: Tangible homes behind Amsterdam’s facades
    (pp. 61-74)
    Hilje van der Horst

    With its many inhabitants with foreign backgrounds, the city of Amsterdam must share attachments with many other places. Turks and their descendants make up a large part of Amsterdam’s non-Dutch population, but for a long time Turkish guest workers considered the city a temporary place of residence; their home attachments remained in Turkey. But as their stay in the Netherlands grew longer and workers were joined by their families, home attachments increasingly came to be directed towards their adopted city. This article traces the development of Amsterdam into ‘home’ for Turkish migrants by focusing on their interior decorating practices.


  9. 5 Housing and population: Spatial mobility in twentieth-century Amsterdam
    (pp. 75-102)
    Hans van Amersfoort and Cees Cortie

    While no population is static, urban populations are especially prone to the forces of concentration and dispersal that accompany broader changes in society and the economy. Amsterdam is no exception, and the interaction of population dynamics and housing stock – differentiated by price, quality and location – has produced specific residential patterns in the city and its environments.

    To set periods in a long-term historic process is always arbitrary and sometimes misleading. Fortunately, we have a date relevant to our subject that falls at the turn of the century. The use made of the Housing Act of 1901 by the...

  10. 6 Towards cultural diversity in Amsterdam’s arts
    (pp. 103-122)
    Christine Delhaye

    This is how the Social Democrat politician Jurriaan Fransman opened his comments on the document outlining the Amsterdam city council’s policy on intercultural issuesLangetermijnvisie Cultuur2015 (The Long Term Vision on Culture2015) (Gemeente Amsterdam 2003). While Fransman reassured his readers that he did not mean a doomsday scenario, he nevertheless gave voice to the widespread uncertainties caused by contemporary changes in the art world. TheNachtwachtis perhaps the most canonized and sacralized piece of Dutch art and an icon of Western art in general. Its sale would be an ultimate instance of the loss of Dutch identity...

  11. 7 Multilingual Amsterdam
    (pp. 123-144)
    Folkert Kuiken

    Every Dutchman knows what is meant bytof(‘terrific’),gokken(‘to gamble’),bolleboos(‘clever clogs’),roddelen(‘to gossip’),stiekem(‘in secret’) andsmoes(‘excuse’). But what many do not know is that these words were originally Yiddish and were incorporated into Dutch in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These are just some of the many words Dutch has borrowed from other languages (Van der Sijs 2001).

    Whenever two or more languages come into contact, they influence each other (Appel & Muysken 1987). Successive invaders of the Low Countries introduced many words into Dutch: the Romans, Spanish, French and Germans all left...

  12. 8 Immigrant organisations in Amsterdam
    (pp. 145-158)
    Floris Vermeulen and Anja van Heelsum

    The establishment of immigrant organisations is an important part of the settlement process as they provide opportunities to pursue goals too broad to be accomplished by individuals alone. Amsterdam is no exception, and the city has a long history of immigrant groups establishing their own organisations. This history dates back to the early immigrant churches of the seventeenth century and continues today with the establishment of mosques, temples and numerous other secular associations (Van Heelsum 2004a, b; Lucassen 2003; Vermeulen 2006). This chapter focuses on how the specific environment of Amsterdam has influenced the associational life of its immigrants over...

  13. 9 Houses of worship and the politics of space in Amsterdam
    (pp. 159-176)
    Thijl Sunier

    If there is one area in which Amsterdam lives up to its reputation as a world city, it is religion (see also Sassen 1991; Eade 2000). Religious presence – and above all, religious visibility – have been important markers of the city’s multicultural character ever since the seventeenth century. Although The Hague has been the country’s administrative centre, Amsterdam was where immigrants and refugees flocked to build and worship in their own congregations; where in the republican years the struggle between the public church and dissident religious denominations took its most overt form (Israel 1995); where in 1878 the orthodox...

  14. 10 The integration of migrants into the Amsterdam sport pattern
    (pp. 177-192)
    Ruud Stokvis

    The arrival of migrants may have consequences for sport in the host society. I write ‘may’ for this remains uncertain. Newcomers may adapt to existing practices by joining established clubs or by creating their own clubs within established sports. If they stay outside established organizations, they can pursue their activities in sport schools or in public squares and parks where they will join a large group of practitioners already active in these places.

    Adaptation, however, does not take place without friction. In the 1920s upper- and middle-class boys in the Netherlands observed lower-class boys’ entry into soccer with distaste and...

  15. 11 Social boundaries in movement
    (pp. 193-200)
    Liza Nell and Jan Rath

    Current debates about the social position of immigrants and the trajectories they are (or should be) following within their host societies revolve around the concept ofintegration. Originally coined in the United States to describe the black civil rights movement’s goal of lifting the racial segregation of schools and public services, the concept now enjoys popular currency in Europe. It is an umbrella term about settlement that overlaps terms such as acculturation, incorporation, adaptation, inclusion and so on. Some conceive of integration as a norm. Others see it as the final stage of some process. Yet others interpret integration as...

  16. About the contributors
    (pp. 201-204)
  17. Index
    (pp. 205-214)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 215-216)