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Who are the contemporary homeless inhabitants of Amsterdam?

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Sanne van Oosten

Finally, winter is over. As is tradition in Amsterdam city life, this is unoficially celebrated by locals as they switch to their summer wardrobe a little bit too fast. Thus bearing through unnecessarily cold bike rides to work as a celebration of the first rays of sun. They can feel the summer coming and are euforic because of it. As the Amsterdam urban dwellers happily flock to the terraces, they aren’t the ones who are happiest that spring has set in. The people sleeping on the streets are facing the easier season to live in. And there are a lot more homeless than one would expect.

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Sharing is multiplying

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Erdem Gunduz at Taksim Square in Istanbul

Lotte van Geijn

In the story of David and Goliath I always forget who is who. Is David the giant and Goliath the shepherd boy? Or is David the shepherd boy and Goliath the giant?

I am standing in front of a huge statue. It is a man with a bag in one hand and a jacket loosely in the other.  He looks like he just got back from work, walking home, but suddenly decided to go into another direction. Tomorrow, he will not follow the same route to work again. Tomorrow, everything will be different. Behind this huge statue is a small army of green figures. Toy soldiers. We kneel down to look at them closely. I feel your breath on my face. Suddenly a soldier stumbles and within a domino effect the start to fall. This place makes me rebellion. We put the plastic soldiers back on their feet: ‘Back in line.’ One stubborn plastic soldier keeps looking at you. We decide to let him be different.

The Dutch and their liberal minds

Dutch multiculturalism

Loes Broen

There was a time that the Dutch were praised and admired because of their liberal minds and the evolving of a multicultural society. We have so many different nationalities living in the Netherlands, we have freedom of speech, we have gay marriage and we tell everybody who wants to listen exactly how open minded we are. But are we really that open minded as we think? Isn’t that something that once was but has been gone for few years now? Or is it just the privilege of populist politicians to say what they think?

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Freedom? Only when convenient

Joanna on Queensday

Davey Meelker

The Netherlands celebrated liberation day yesterday, five days after the crowning of the new king. Amsterdam was the stage of the big celebration during the crowning. Its main square was full of people dressed in orange to say goodbye to queen Beatrix who passed the torch to her son Willem Alexander after 33 years of reign. The country was dazzled in euphoria without realising that on that same day fundamental human rights were violated.

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The ice is melting and so is a part of Dutch culture

Elfstedentocht Eleven Cities Tour

Davey Meelker

The white snowy landscapes are gone and the ice has melted in the Netherlands, and with that the hope of the revival of a part of Dutch culture has faded away.  It started freezing two weeks ago and, with the prospect of more cold weather, the people soon started to say the magic words: De Elfstedentocht (The Eleven Cities Tour). This ice-skating contest can only be held when the 200 kilometres track consisting out of rivers and lakes are completely frozen. The last time this happened was in 1997 and since then everybody has been hoping for another tour every year and every year they have been disappointed.

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The Netherlands after the death of the Dutch linesman: united against violence?

Davey Meelker

The people in Netherlands were shocked when they heared that the linesmen of an amateur football match died in a hospital two weeks ago after he was molested by kids of the visiting team. People were outraged and asked how fifteen and sixteen year olds could do this. A big debate on how to avoid is in the future is going on ever since. One point of view is expressed by Geert Wilders. Since the perpetrators were Moroccans, his anti-migrant Freedom Party sees opportunities to make up for his big loss in the last elections and claim that problem is an Moroccan problem not a football problem.

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What’s up with the Amsterdam Weedpass?

Sanne van Oosten

Who else is confused by the Amsterdam Weedpass? It seems to have become a never ending string of intended laws concerning the accessibility of Amsterdam coffeeshops to foreigners. Are foreigners allowed to visit the Amsterdam coffeeshops for some somewhat legal marijuana? Or what? This is exactly what is going on:

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A day at the Amsterdam Osdorp refugee camp

Davey Meelker and Sanne van Oosten

What is life like in the Amsterdam Osdorp Notweg refugee camp? It is impossible to completely understand what it must be like to live here. Yesterday we wrote a blog about the situation, but these pictures also give an insight into the lives of the 80 people living here.

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The people who are deemed undeserving of human rights. Amsterdam Osdorp refugee camp.

“Human rights! Not for whom?”

Sanne van Oosten and Davey Meelker

After having travelled throughout the world we thought we’d witnessed more than our fair share of impoverishment. We had never expected that our own home town, Amsterdam, would reveal the most hopeless situation we had ever seen. Today we hopped on our bikes and went to the outskirts of town, Osdorp, where we visited the Notweg tented camp, housing 80 illegal immigrants who were recently told that they couldn’t stay in the Netherlands because their home countries were safe enough to go back.

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Dutch students in Antwerp, affirmation of a stereotype?

Merel Entius

Very often people ask me why I, a Dutch person, decided to do my Masters degree in Antwerp. I often reply by saying that I like the experience being in a new city and that it saves me a lot of money. The last bit, however, is somewhat sensitive. I don’t like Belgians to think of me as a greedy Dutch student whose only purpose is to get a degree at low costs and then leave again. Nevertheless, just like many other students I cannot deny that this is part of the truth.

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