Amsterdam Changes the Label for Denoting Immigrants

The Amsterdam City Council has decided to stop using the labels ‘autochtoon’ and ‘allochtoon’. These are used by the Dutch state, and for example the Bureau for Statistics, to differentiate between native and non-native Dutch. An ‘allochtoon’ is officially defined as a person with at least one parent that was born abroad. There is further differentiation between Western and non-Western allochtonen.

The proposal originated from the Labour Party in Amsterdam. They argue that the terms have divided the population into two groups, creating a ‘them and us’. The mission of the city council is to be there for all Amsterdammers, and creating such a division does not fit with that goal. From now on, the city council will refer to ‘Moroccan Amsterdammers’ or ‘Turkish Amsterdammers’, similar to Afro-American and Latin-Americans.

An English language article can be found here.

A declaration by the Amsterdam city council can be found here (in Dutch).


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