(15 July 2016) – The arrival of refugees in the Netherlands arouses a lot of resistance, but a grassroots initiative in the eastern part of Amsterdam is welcoming refugees.
Two social entrepreneurs, in collaboration with a growing group of volunteers that call themselves Gastvrij Oost (‘Welcoming East’) managed to bring over around 30 Syrian refugees, most of whom have or will soon have a residence permit. A group of 31 refugees have moved into their new temporary home, an old office building in the eastern district of Amsterdam.
The refugee authorities did not like the idea, but eventually the district council and the City of Amsterdam supported the initiative.
Now that the authorities are preparing new plans, the local community’s Gastvrij Oost network is taking on the job of ensuring a human approach, self-management by the residents and a fruitful collaboration with the neighbourhood.