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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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‘Xenophobia bad for economy’

6 February 2007 - Alderman Lodewijk Asscher wants to turn Amsterdam into an economic ‘top city’. He hopes that successful companies will also contribute to a social Amsterdam, but he is hesitant to make firm agreements about this.

Asscher’s economic policies met with sharp criticism at a lively debate at the Rode Hoed last night. Parool journalist Marcel Wiegman said he had seldom heard a more meaningless term being used as a motto for municipal policies than ‘Amsterdam Top City’.

Yves Gijrath, organiser of the Millionaire Fair, found the move of the Akzo Nobel headquarters to Amsterdam an ‘empty shell’, since only seventy jobs will be involved. We must not pretend to have won the Champions League, he said.

Gijrath, referring to a recent study, said the I Amsterdam city marketing campaign was useless. He further complained that among foreigners, Amsterdam is mainly known as a cannabis plantation.

A more positive picture was painted by Jan Stoutenbeek, project leader of the Zuidas business district. That Amsterdam is associated with cannabis and prostitution is not much of a problem, he found, for it contributes to brand awareness.

According to Stoutenbeek, Amsterdam is popular among foreign businesses, among other things because of the creativity of Amsterdammers. He had not only designers and media companies in mind, but also our creativity in legal and financial matters.

Against this background, it is a bit painful that today offices at the Zuidas were searched by the police because the businesses located there are suspected of involvement in money laundering.

Stoutenbeek apparently did not know yet last night that these searches were to take place. He was concerned about another problem: we tend to become ever more xenophobic. He said it is disastrous that talented immigrants cannot get a job because of their skin colour.

An important issue in last night’s debate was whether Amsterdam Top City will yield jobs for the large group of low-educated job seekers. Asscher was optimistic: activities in the creative knowledge economy will create ‘spin off’ in terms of jobs in cleaning, hospitality and health care.

In addition, he said that companies such as Shell and KPN are motivated to offer opportunities to young people, for example in Amsterdam West.

Discussion leader Ruben Maes wanted to know whether the alderman also wanted to stimulate such social involvement by requiring companies that seek government contracts or permits to employ social assistance recipients, for example. A relevant question, for Alderman Ahmed Aboutaleb was to introduce a plan for such a system of ‘contract compliance’ last summer.

Asscher was less than enthusiastic. He was willing to study the possibilities of contract compliance, but he insisted that this is not a solution to all problems. He thinks that it is better to seduce companies than to make conditions.

Earlier research had found that municipalities often have cold feet when it comes to demanding companies to make a contribution to social goals. The researchers said this is unnecessary. “Municipalities should not be too modest; employers can be very creative in finding solutions”.

Background: contract compliance


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