Amsterdam locals angry over influx of expat professionals

Published:  5 Dec at 6 PM
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Amsterdam media outlets are reporting local residents' anger over the influx of expat professionals arriving as a result of Brexit.

Dutch lawmakers were over the moon last month when Amsterdam became the destination of choice for the relocation from the UK of the European Medicines Agency, Amsterdam residents, however, were far less than pleased with the reality of yet another influx of foreign professionals into their already crowded city. Dutch media and Dutch citizens are sick to death of expats arriving, forcing up already soaring rental charges as well as property prices and generally adding to the crowds of tourists clogging up the streets and searching for strip joints.

The relocation of some 900 expat professionals will be a boost to the city’s economy, but citizens simply care about the changes due to be made to suit foreign tastes. Dutch social media is full of reports lamenting the city’s former edgy, free-wheeling spirit and its crushing in favour of the wants of an army of EU bureaucrats. Amsterdam’s rebranding as a ‘respectable’ city dedicated to economic progress and sanitization began a decade ago with the shutting down a third of the city’s world-famous brothels and the closing of its equally famous marijuana cafes.

Tourist arrivals have soared since 2011 and are now double the number, with six million arriving every year. Wealthy expat arrivals have also soared, from 39,000 in 2009 to last year’s record of 77,000. The local government has no problem with immigrants, according to lawmaker Reiner van Dantzig, who refers to Amsterdam as a historic open city for immigrants since its 17th century Golden Age.

One 5th generation Amsterdammer, Danielle van Diemen, told reporters her town is now being defined by foreigners from Western countries who still see it as edgy when it isn’t. There’s a huge, unbridgeable gap between wealthy, non-Dutch speaking expats and the local people, she said, adding foreigners should simply go home and leave the city to its native residents. Another local said he feels like a tourist in his own neighbourhood, as all the local shops and cafes have been taken over by greedy tourism-orientated retailers.

Amsterdam’s real estate market is another cause for local complaint, as house prices and rentals have soared beyond the reach of the average Dutch worker. The city was recently voted ‘best for millenials’ from professionals to start-ups, but it’s clearly no longer best for its original residents as a result. Many feel the entire population is being replaced by incomers, and 40 percent of young couples with children are being driven out by rising prices and replaced by foreigners on high wages.
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