Immigrant children and their parents in two Amsterdam neighborhoods took to the streets on Friday asking for families to enroll their “white” children in local schools, which are becoming increasingly segregated.
The 100 or so schoolchildren – mostly from Africa and the Middle
East – took part in a rally, AFP reported. They were wearing
bright wight t-shirts imprinted bearing the phrase “Is this white
enough for you?” Their message was that they wanted more Dutch
native classmates to help them integrate.
The Netherlands generally calls on greater
and smoother integration of migrants into society, encouraging
them to learn the language and take special tests. But on a
social level, things have not gone as smoothly as planned:
Approximately 90 percent of pupils at the two schools in
Amsterdam – De Avonturijn and Catharinaschool – have immigrant
As more families leave the districts, making way for the growing
migrant influx, there are fewer and fewer children enrolling
every year, and the schools are now threatened with closure.
“When, for different reasons, a school ‘becomes blacker’,
it’s very difficult to reverse the trend,” the schools’
spokesperson Diane Middelkoop said, AFP reports. “White
children’s parents no longer want to be part of the school. I can
understand that: We all want to feel at home and that means that
we want to see people who share our origins and culture.”
“It’s shameful that it’s
come to this, that children have to take to the street to go to
school with white children,” AFP quotes one elderly local
resident, also an immigrant from Suriname.
In order to help their children integrate into society, parents
were going door to door distributing flyers saying “We’re
looking for white pupils.”
But as migrant numbers rise, so does the support for far-right
and anti-migrant politicians. One example is the Party of
Freedom, currently holding 10 percent of the Dutch Parliament’s
seats, and its founder Geert Wilders, who blames migrants for not