SATURDAY PHOTO #14 – Satellite dishes, Amsterdam

Schoteltjesbuurt, Amsterdam

I know, as a photo this is pretty average, but I do like the story behind it…

As in any large city with an immigrant population, Amsterdam faces the problem of balancing tolerant support for multiculturalism with a desire to have newcomers integrate and adopt Dutch culture.

A cluster of satellite dishes beaming TV programs from Turkey or Morocco into Amsterdam has become a sign of a Muslim ghetto, where people cling to their old culture, learning only basic Dutch and resisting the Hollandization process.

A ‘schoteltjesbuurt’ or ‘dish district’ is sneered at by many.

Then someone had the bright idea of turning the dishes in this street into a community art gallery.

5 Comments

Filed under Art, Holland, travel photography

5 responses to “SATURDAY PHOTO #14 – Satellite dishes, Amsterdam

  1. What a great idea – or perhaps they could use them as “flash cards” with Dutch words on them to help people learn Dutch. I can’t understand why you would not want to learn the language of your adopted country.

    • I enjoy the struggle to improve my Dutch too, BdL, but I also admit to watching the odd BBC program – Chelsea Flower Show at the moment. We can fortunately get that without needing a dish.

  2. Paul Martin

    Great initiative and lovely art.

    We found cycling through these districts (which we did on half a dozen occasions), on the whole, really unpleasant:

    Scooters seem to be much more common and driven by young males very aggressively – effectively pushing cyclists out of the way (and sometimes pedestrians on the footpath!). When I protested loudly at being hit by a scooter the guy threatened me with violence.

    We found that there was less respect for the cyclepath which was often obstructed with signage, debris or chatting pedestrians.

    My wife was the subject of an unsuccessful ‘bike-jack’ – or at least that’s what it appeared to be. Two young males deliberately rode into her in an attempt to knock her off her bike (?theft… who knows).

    After all of this we decided to stay well away from the dish districts. Pity. There were some great things to see & do there as well as some excellent food. These communities might want to look at how their young are representing them…

    • Sorry to hear about those nasty incidents, Paul, but to be fair, the problems of bad behaviour and scooters on the bike path are not limited to the ‘dish districts’.

      They happen in any crowded part of town, and the aggression atrocities can be perpetrated by members of any ethnic group (though I agree, they’re usually young).

      Scooter use is a relatively new phenomenon in the Netherlands, and there are issues to be worked out.

      Getting a car driving licence in Holland is a long and expensive process and many young people start scooter riding as a half-way step to driving. Unfortunately they then ride as if they are on Harleys.

      There is pressure for new laws to force all motor scooter riders to ride on the roads with the cars, and even cyclists are now being fined for riding on the footpath.

      There is an official 25kph speed limit on cycle paths, but this is often ignored, even by some cyclists.

      My approach is to ride the bike on the cycle path at my own speed, and only move over to let a (often honking) scooter pass if it suits me. If enough people do this, scooter riders will find using the bike path too frustrating and will switch to the road.

      • Paul Martin

        No, the bad behaviour on scooters is certainly not limited to these areas but I certainly noticed a higher usage rate – and therefore higher incident rate. I’m certain that most of them are going faster than 25km/h! I hope they can sort it out. Speaking to a number of people in the Netherlands it does appear to be a problem on cyclepaths.

        It seems as though they want to eat their cake and have it – ride a fast motorised vehicle but ‘cheat’ by using cycling infrastructure. Not requiring a licence or a helmet probably encourages them.

        If they were really all limited to 25km/h I should have been passing them!! :D

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