According to research by the discrimination centre in Amsterdam, anti-black racism is widespread and underreported in the region.

In the Netherlands, racism is catalogued in research as “discrimination on skin colour/ origin”. Because of this, it remains an underestimated problem, Het Parool reports.

Underreported and underestimated

In recent years, the phenomenon of racism has started to be registered in Amsterdam. According to the research, one in five reports on discrimination comes from people of African or Afro-Caribbean descent.

Vincent Verkoelen, director of the Discrimination Center for the Amsterdam Region (MDRA), states that “The size of this category is so large that it justifies specific investigation and registration.” He continues by saying that anti-black racism should receive as much administrative attention as other forms of discrimination. “While some forms of discrimination are much smaller in size, they are very much zoomed in on. Anti-black racism has never been treated or registered separately.”

Many forms of racism against black people

Black people in the Netherlands suffer discrimination in ways that are well-known, such as the association with slavery and Zwarte Piet. There are more subtle discriminations as well, such as the ones related to hair. “Hairstyle discrimination is a form of institutional racism where straight hair is considered superior,” Verkoel explains. “In the US, a law was passed in 2019 prohibiting discrimination against natural hair, such as Afro’s and braids.”

There have been more than 100 reports of anti-black racism in Amsterdam in 2019. It comes in many shapes, from young children using the n-word in mostly white classes with a couple of black students, to black customers being refused service in restaurants.

The report concludes that as long as anti-black racism is registered the same as other forms of discrimination, it will be impossible to successfully tackle.


If you would like to know more about racism in the Netherlands, you can read more here. If you would like to get involved in anti-racism movements in the Netherlands beyond just social media, check out this article.

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Feature Image: Supplied



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