Once a year, the city of Amstelveen, at Amsterdam’s southern end, plays host to a true spectacle. The Diwali Festival, the ancient Hindu festival of lights, has been celebrated here for 10 years. In 2018, the festivities will take place on Saturday, 3 November, and are being organised by the City of Amstelveen, amsterdam inbusiness and various private parties. About 18,000 visitors are expected to join the celebrations.
Around 10.000 Indian expats live in the Amsterdam area, so it’s not surprising that a Diwali Festival of such a scale exists. Many of these expats come as highly skilled migrants, working for Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Steel, Infosys, Sun Pharma or one of the many other large Indian companies that have established offices or factories in the region. All in all, there are 100 Indian companies in the Amsterdam area, and 200 in the Netherlands in total.
As a result, the Netherlands is home to the second-largest Indian community in mainland Europe, comprised of roughly 215,000 people. The highest number of highly skilled migrants to take advantage of IN Amsterdam’s services are from India. There is much in the region to make the Indian community feel at home. For instance, there are fourteen international schools and various secondary schools that offer a bilingual education, the Amstelland Hospital provides a dedicated India Desk for health advice, and there are various dedicated non-profit organisations, such as the Netherlands India Chamber of Commerce & Trade and the Netherlands-India Association
Perhaps most importantly for some, 23 June will see the return of the annual India Cricket Day at the VRA Cricket Club in the city’s forest, the Amsterdamse Bos, with 16 teams from Indian companies in the Amsterdam area competing. The day is concluded with a casual networking event hosted by amsterdam inbusiness and in company of a representative of the Indian Embassy in the Netherlands and the mayor of Amstelveen. Both bitterballen and samosas will be served: a true meeting of cultures. May the best snack (and team) win.