Celebrating Amsterdam's diversity

Held twice a year, the 'Welcome to Amsterdam' event celebrates Amsterdam's diverse international community and welcomes incoming expats to the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area.

Amsterdam currently counts 177 different nationalities, an estimated 50,000 of which make up the international community and add to the dynamic flavour of the city.

An official welcome

Mayor Van der Laan officially opened the event with a warm-hearted speech where he stressed the importance and value of Amsterdam’s expatriate community. Van der Laan, “No less than 122 international companies set up shop in Amsterdam in 2010 … expats are valuable not only to the economy but also to the character of the city”.

He wished guests a wonderful stay in Amsterdam and stated that he was open to suggestions for improvement. When asked for the one thing he would suggest people do to truly experience the city, the mayor said a boat cruise through the picturesque canals.

Meet, greet, eat and enjoy

Hosted by Amsterdam funny-man Michael Diederich (Boom Chicago), the programme focussed on interaction with the many expat social and business groups in attendance. A spirited panel discussion with representatives of the groups tackled an array of topics – from stereotypes and cultural oddities to Dutch language and cuisine.

Before and after the panel discussion, guests had the opportunity to mingle with representatives of several expat groups and clubs.

These included: ACCESS, Indian Expat Society, Amsterdam Accueil, MEETin Amsterdam, The American Women’s Club of Amsterdam, International Women’s Contact Amsterdam, Japanese Chamber of Commerce, AmCham (American Chamber of Commerce) and Deutsch Niederländische Handelskammer.

Following the panel discussion - and an entertaining contest for the least and most integrated person in the audience - a choice of three breakout sessions was offered to guests:

  • Introduction to Cultural Awareness course by the Royal Tropical Institute

  • Introduction to the Dutch Language by NedLes

  • Networking opportunity with international groups and clubs

The evening came to a harmonious close with the musical talents of Leslie Ebony.

The evening was hosted and organised by the Expatcenter. The event was also made possible by Amsterdam Bright City and Stichting Welcome Amsterdam.