Amsterdam is as multiculti as it gets



Amsterdam is again in 2007 the most multicultural city in the world, according to the City of Amsterdam. As of 1 January 2007, 177 different nationalities were living in the city, making Amsterdam No. 1 in this respect. Runner up is Antwerp with 164 nationalities, while New York has 150.

In 2006 a new nationality was added to Amsterdam, as someone from Malawi went to live there. Most foreigners come from Morocco (64,588), Turkey (37,421), Great Britain (10,244), Germany (6,670) and Suriname (5,609).

Despite the constant hordes of people, Amsterdam only has 743,104 inhabitants, who are mostly Dutch, as 532,548 only have the Dutch nationality. As well, another 123,204 have two passports, including a Dutch one.

And what’s this picture? This is De Bijmermeer or ‘Bijlmer’, a suburb of Amsterdam, an architectural feat and the city’s symbol for where to put all the poor and usually non-white foreigners. I’ve lived there as a foreigner, so I know first hand, although I did see some poor, white, retired Dutch folk. It was also world news for the plane that crashed into one of the buildings. If you don’t know this story, grab a beverage and read it, it’s really something.

(Link: trouw)


  1. Quantity and quality. Who can reasonnably say that NYC is less multicultural than Amsterdam? And when we look at the figures, we see that A’dam has never been so white and Dutch. Never in history have the allochtones been so few in the city…

    Comment by Laurent — August 22, 2007 @ 11:15 am

  2. One thing I learned in my long 5 years in The Netherlands is that multicultural here means different nationalities living in the same space but not necessarily sharing different values, i.e. pillarization style. I´ve never been to NYC but I lived in São Paulo and know very well the difference between “multi” and mixed.

    Comment by Márcia W. — August 22, 2007 @ 11:56 am

  3. I agree. I know New York and people on the street share more in common than they do in Amsterdam.

    The Dutch do not really mix as they do in New York or in my hometown of Montréal.

    Comment by Orangemaster — August 22, 2007 @ 12:01 pm

  4. I have lived in the US – raised as a little bitty kid in NYC, but mostly I consider myself as from New Hampshire, though in my adult life I lived in Texas (what can I say? American mobility!). I was born in A’dam – Dutch father and American mother. I have made frequent trips over the years to visit family and friends all over NL, but usually spend most of my time in Amsterdam. Orangemaster’s comment, NYC vs A’dam, is true. I remember an incident a few years ago, standing with a very Dutch friend, outside the Wibautstraat metro station; we were approached by an ethnic Surinamer who was lost. I gave him directions to where he wanted to go. My Dutch friend was taken aback at my friendliness and helpfulness. He told me he rarely talked with non-whites! He would talk to, but hardly ever with other ethnics.

    Comment by Jay Vos — August 22, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  5. According to the dictionary definition of ‘multicultural’, Amsterdam does, indeed, qualify as the city with the highest ranking.

    The word is an adjective, meaning ‘of or relating to or including several cultures’. Whether or not these cultures are well-integrated is an entirely different matter.

    Comment by Ian Macdonald — August 23, 2007 @ 5:51 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.