Amsterdam is diverse on every level
With 180 different nationalities, Amsterdam’s population is one of the most diverse in Europe. Over the last 50 years, the city has seen an influx of people from countries and cultures around the world, and has welcomed large numbers from Suriname, Turkey and Morocco.
Over the next few years, it’s expected that half of all Amsterdammers will have been born abroad or will have parents or grandparents who were born overseas.
As Amsterdam values having a diverse society and the benefits it brings, it devotes substantial time, effort and funds to preventing the formation of ghettos in areas with large numbers of ethnic minorities.
Article 1 of the Dutch Constitution forbids discrimination on the grounds of a person's beliefs, race or sexuality. In 1996, the Municipality of Amsterdam added its own code of conduct for local authority employees to this article and established a complaints scheme and an anti-discrimination office.
The Municipality has installed five advisory bodies to assist in shaping its policies regarding migrants. Additionally, the ethnic makeup of the civil service in the city must reflect its population and various programmes are in place to help realise this.
The emancipation of women
Support for the emancipation of women – and people who are subject to discrimination based on their sexuality – is part of the city's policy. In 1995, Amsterdam created the Ombudsman Service for Women to deal with complaints relating to the legal and social position of women of various backgrounds.
Additionally, the addresses of more than a hundred organisations that provide help and advice are included in the Yellow Pages for Women (Gele Gids voor Vrouwen), which is published by the Multicultural Emancipation Bureau.
Supporting LGBTI rights
The Dutch capital is listed by the International Gay Travel Association as a top destination for gay visitors and the City of Amsterdam strives to combat discrimination against LGBTI people. Darker times are remembered near the Westerkerk church at the Homomonument. A memorial consisting of three pink granite triangles, it was one of the first monuments dedicated to LGBTI victims of persecution and discrimination.
Amsterdam's former mayor, Job Cohen, oversaw the country's first same-sex civil marriage ceremony in 2001. Four same-sex couples took their vows and signed the register, allowing them to enjoy the same legal status as married heterosexual couples for the first time.
The opening of civil marriage to same-sex couples had already been approved by the Dutch government in December 2000 and the Netherlands introduced the registration of same-sex partnerships in 1998.