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11/1 Jurists want to stay in Oudemanhuispoort

8/2 Mayor’s portrait

8/2 Websites for social cohesion

7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

7/2 GroenLinks on districts: Be a man

6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

4/2 Wilders has little support on Amsterdam

3/2 Elite involved in neighbourhood

2/2 Johnnie Walker avoids taxes in Amsterdam

1/2 Rotterdam to tinker with district councils as well

31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

31/1 ZeeburgTV launched

27/1 Privacy activists to mess up loyalty card system

27/1 A few were still coughing, but that was an act

27/1 Chrisis in de Baarsjes

26/1 Youth have positive view of districts

24/1 Action groups call for Carmel and Jaffa boycott

24/1 PvdA members dismiss plan for districts

23/1 KLM takes on crisis with new uniform

23/1 District office not squatted

21/1 Merge districts

20/1 Closing squat bar Vrankrijk not necessary

20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Paul Scheffer gets his way

2 August 2006 – On 24 August, Amsterdam will for the first time hold a ceremony for all who obtained Dutch citizenship this year. Writer Paul Scheffer feared that the ceremony would be rushed through at the district offices, but there will be a meeting at City Hall, presided by Mayor Job Cohen.

As of 1 January, municipalities are obliged to hold ceremonies for all who have obtained Dutch citizenship. As of 1 October, new citizens will be obliged to participate in these ceremonies. In the future, they will further be obliged to pledge their loyalty to the Netherlands.

According to an article in NRC Handelsblad earlier this year, preparations for the ceremony did not have high priority with the Amsterdam municipality. Paul Scheffer, the writer who coined the expression ‘multicultural drama’, was upset about this. He said that a ‘politically motivated attitude’ was behind this: the municipality would try to ignore all that comes from Integration Minister Rita Verdonk.

Scheffer predicted at the time that Amsterdam would have the ceremony carried out at the district offices, ‘like a soulless wedding ceremony’. Former minister Roger van Boxtel, who once picked up the idea of the ceremony in Canada, even feared that the capital would turn it into a ‘crematorium ceremony’.

Critics say that the naturalization ceremony forcedly tries to deny social diversity. In NRC Handelsblad, sociologist Dick Pels called the ceremony ‘nationalistic’. It starts from a rigid idea of Dutch citizenship, which excludes affinity with other cultures.

This criticism is not entirely unfounded. When Social-Democrat party leader Wouter Bos in 2004 defended the idea of diversity, Verdonk reproached him for engaging in ‘demagoguery’ and ‘old politics’ (the latter expression was used by right-wing populist Pim Fortuyn to refer to multiculturalism and consensus politics). “Am I hearing this correctly: is this not simply multiculturalism in a new guise”, the minister asked.

During the Amsterdam ceremony, the Mayor will focus on democracy, the principle of equality and the right to vote. The first ceremony will take place on 24 August, the day at which the Constitution came into effect in 1815. From then on, weekly ceremonies will be held at City Hall, each to be attended by some seventy participants.

Meanwhile, the number of nationalities in Amsterdam has risen to 176 this year. New residents include a Central African, a Gabonese and a Maledivian. On the other hand, the city will have to do without a Malawian from now on.


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