Amsterdam’s new street names will be named after women
Local TV station AT5 tells us that only 7% of street names in Amsterdam are named after women, and that the mayor has promised to change that in the future. Of course, Amsterdam’s streets are named after a whole bunch of other things like bridges and canals, but we do live in 2014 and it wouldn’t kill the city to make this kind of upgrade.
A Master’s thesis by Rob Koolos on Street names in Noord-Brabant and Holland — this includes Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague — explains the situation when it comes to streets named after women:
Except for the Royal Family (and the wives of William of Orange), before the Second World War, streets named after women were very, very scarce. Aagje Deken and Betje Wolff (writers) and Thérèse Schwartze (painter) were the only women that appeared in more than one of the researched cities. […] After the Second World War, with the second feminist wave and a rapidly growing list of important women, this situation did improve slightly. Leiden and Alphen aan de Rijn for example decided to use only women to name the streets in their new quarters.
I’ve seen street names in Amsterdam named after women like doctors, the wives of famous men, artists and even fictional characters. And if Leiden and Alphen aan de Rijn can do it, so can Amsterdam.