Amstelveen city council has set up a ‘dialogue’ with Indian expats to improve the relationship between locals and new arrivals, the Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday.
Around one-fifth of the 90,000 people who live in Amstelveen are not Dutch nationals and the Indian community has doubled to some 5,000 people in five years, the paper said.
This has not only made the city more ‘colourful’, with Indian shops, dance and festivals, but has also created challenges in terms of housing and education, the paper said.
The FD quotes local photographer Eric Grooters, who says the current situation is a ‘mega problem’ and that Amstelveen ‘has turned into Mumbai on the Amstel’.
Grooters, who first protested about the number of Indians living in the city last year, describes the international workforce as a ‘tsunami of expats’, making it impossible for local youngsters to find a place to live.
Similar complaints have been made by the Socialist party in Amsterdam.
City alderman Floor Gordon told the paper she is proud of Amstelveen’s international character but admits there are problems with education and housing which need dealing with.
The council has set aside €500,000 a year to invest in newcomers classes to help children settle into the Dutch system and councillors have also voted to invest in subsidising international education.
Amstelveen also has a new international school with space for 600 children, the FD points out.
More than 20 different organisations took part in the first round-table talks and the groups are now looking into setting up an umbrella group, Gordon told the paper.
‘I understand that there is pressure on the housing market, and that people have to get used to each other,’ she said. ‘The council is moving with the times and I would prefer not to make the problem bigger than it really is.’
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