Mayor Sharon Dijksma opens photo exhibition ’50 years of migration in the Netherlands’ at Central Station

The traveling photo exhibition ’50 years of migration in the Netherlands’ will be opened by Mayor Sharon Dijksma on 24 June at Central Station (at the entrance to the municipal office).
In the 50s and sixties of the last century there was a great shortage of workers in Holland. After first attracting (guest) workers from countries such as Italy, Spain, Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey, a stream of workers from Morocco started in the late 1960s. They worked for large companies such as Philips, Ford, Fokker, Melkunie, Thomassen & Drijver, Hoogovens and textile factories in Utrecht. Without them, the Dutch economy would never have become as strong as it is today.

The great cultural diversity of today’s Holland is rooted in this period. The identity and urban culture of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht are shaped by the history of employment. We see this reflected in how they live, family life, language use and socio-cultural diversity. For example, according to figures from the municipality in January 2020, Utrecht had a total of 357,719 inhabitants, of which 36% (130,000) have a migration background.
This year we also celebrate that Utrecht has had city rights for 900 years. The theme is ‘City without walls’: open, involved, hospitable and connected. For this reason, the Atlas Cultural Center would like to draw attention to the history of migrant workers in Utrecht, which is part of the city of Utrecht900, with a tight program from June to December 2022. They will do so by further expanding an existing photo exhibition ’50 years of labor immigration in Holland ‘with local stories and history, and by combining this with a teaching package, lectures and dialogue meetings, literary evenings, culinary evenings, workshops, film evenings, music events, podcasts, guest lectures in schools, research, documentaries, capturing stories of local guest workers, production of short films and a call for new archive material and unveiling of a guest worker monument.
The photo exhibition was attended by a total of 50 people, including 25 former guest workers from countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Morocco and 25 native Dutch as colleagues, employers, neighbors, interpreters, teachers and last but not least volunteers from the churches. . In addition, a local component is attached to the exhibition.
The exhibition ’50 years of migration in the Netherlands’ reveals the identity of the Netherlands together with visitors. It is based on different themes (work, family reunification, culture, politics, sports and religion) that overlap. The chosen form of presentation, the design, but also the peripheral programming is based on the principle that the Netherlands can contribute their own expertise and experience to the exhibition.
The initiator and project manager Sahin Yildirim: “The dream of temporary guest workers was to make money in the short term and return to their own country. But when the guest workers were given the opportunity to settle in Holland, many brought their families to Holland. And once the kids were in Holland, the preference was for permanent residence.
We are now talking about the third and fourth generation, which is rooted in the Netherlands. The children and grandchildren of the then ‘guest workers’ are represented throughout society. They are politicians, doctors, judges, social workers, teachers, journalists and volunteers, etc. We have a collective history in the Netherlands, and this must not be lost. With this project, Atlas wants on the one hand to put the pioneers in the spotlight and on the other hand to play a bridging function within different groups, because there is a greater need for attachment, solidarity and tolerance. ‘

The exhibition can be seen from 24 June to 24 October 2022 at Utrecht Central Station at the entrance to the City Office, Stadsplateau 1, 3521 A

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