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Theoretical framework research


Rooting in Amsterdam

Searching for new rooted urban life

The way newcomers socialize in the post-industrial, super-diverse global city Amsterdam


Post industrial: new economic urban structure: (literature: Manuel Castells

Super diverse: huge groups from every nationality (literature:

Global: central (or sub-central) international position for finance, transnational companies, mobility, education, culture. (literature: Saskia Sassen)



The last 5 years, since the end of the last crisis, Amsterdam saw a radical change in the people coming in, the newcomers:

- More people from other countries than Dutch people coming in

- More people from western countries than from non-western countries coming in.

10 – 20 % of the new students is foreign

High numbers of High skilled migrant workers both from EU countries and non-EU countries

High numbers of Managerial Elites / Expats


We will get the good numbers from the Department of Statistics of the City of Amsterdam (OIS). Will rework them to useful figures about the background of the newcomers and will present this in graphics


In this research we will focus on the foreign newcomers.

(the Dutch newcomers will gain in importance now, since the corona crisis stops the big influx of non-Dutch people?)


We will know how the newcomers in Amsterdam built their social contacts.

In the literature we find a range of positions in more or less or not making social contacts in and with the hosting city / society:

transnational migrants who know they will leave in a few years /

newcomers who stay in their original countries almost totally except physically /

newcomers who live mainly with the people of their original country in Amsterdam /

and all degrees of trying to make social contacts in the new city.


For Amsterdam this is very important because the newcomers are a big part of the population (almost 10% in one year) (70,000 newcomers out of 850,000 = 8.2% ; 50,000 new foreigners out of 850,000  = 6% in 1 year!! )


Policy makers realize that social life in big cities is changing because of economic globalization and the influx of newcomers:

SCP (2015) Not from the Street; Local society in globalized, growing cities

Marieke Hoffman (2018) Living well together in a diverse city; identity and living together


The city government of Amsterdam is searching for new ways to get the population participating in city life, both social and politically. Policy documents:

Agenda Democratization of B&W

Participation note: principles for Amsterdam urban design; co-production with citizens, etc

Environmental vision 2050 (draft at the end of 2020) with one of the four spearheads: Rooted Urbanity : how can Amsterdammers take root in the city again in times of comings & goings, uncertainty, temporary housing and temporary work, etc. How can they re-establish ties with each other and with the city; what kind of new bindings could that be, etc>



We will make categories of the newcomers ; we will get this from literature about motivation of migrants and interviews of relevant people of universities and companies


Study – students: bachelor, master and short courses



low skilled (domestics, security, etc)

middle skilled (practical-technical as construction, installations, etc; health, education, etc; high skilled: artist, creative industry, tech sector, finance, branding / marketing/ assurance / accountancy  / lawyers and other specialized business services

Own business: managers and entrepreneurs


Family and personal motivation


Freedom and security motivation


This categories/ groups will differ in age, income, period they will stay, countries the come from, legal position, tax relief, etc.


From both literature, official documents, statistics and interviews we will get this clear.

Depending on the position of a newcomer, she or he will be more willing to make new contacts in Amsterdam; that will be easier or harder; etc.

And of course the person can act quite different than expected from her/ his position.


For us, the main goal is to find out what the first social contacts are a newcomer makes the first years in the city: what kind of social activities, social networks, institutions, 

With our questionnaire we will get some insight into this.

OIS will help us by taking this questionnaire in their program, so that it will be spread in accordance with official statistical standards.

With participating in organizations who are specialized in helping newcomers to find their way in the city we will find out how it works in practical life.


Building social contacts in a new city is not the same as socializing in a city or becoming a citizen.  We are focused on the first, while for city politics the last is more important.

Literature about making social contacts and feeling home: from old master Abraham de Swaan to Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone ;  JW Duyvendak's Citizenship ao in Culturalization of Citizenship – Belonging and polarization in a globalizing world”  to Justus Uitermark's social network nodes; etc

For a recent European literature review we use “Social Networks, social capital and migrant integration at local level” (University of Birmingham 2015)

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