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Global developments have resulted in increasing numbers of people arriving in Amsterdam over the last few years. Conflicts in the Middle East, in particular Syria, and worsening conditions in some African countries have brought about an unprecedented exodus of refugees. In the last three years millions of people have come to Europe risking their lives by braving the Aegean and Mediterranean seas in small boats. A small percentage, but still a considerable number, of survivors, chose Amsterdam as their final destination.
At the same time has the rise of affordable travel, the growing wealth of a global elite and the meticulously crafted brand of I amsterdam led to rapidly increasing numbers of tourists coming to Amsterdam, from all corners of the world. All these refugees, tourists, and other ‘guests’ come with a certain image of Amsterdam in mind, and spend considerable sums on their travels. Ironically, refugees often pay considerably more for their dangerous, one-way voyage, in many cases all they have. Amsterdam has subsequently received and accommodated her new guests in strongly diverging ways. Their status – their financial means still available and obviously nationality – has been the decisive factor in the kind and amount of hospitality granted to them by the city.
Those with the right passport and some financial back-up are allowed to roam around freely. Their money, thanks to the market economy, an eager real estate sector and few legal restrictions, directly translates into the provision of space for the facilities they demand: ‘travel like a local‘ Airbnb-apartments, ‘experience world class‘ hotel chains, welcoming ‘expatcenters‘, ‘for people in the creative industries‘ international private member clubs, ‘not-for-tourists‘ all-inclusive short stay hotels, ‘iconic‘ department stores, and numerous museums, restaurants, souvenir shops and rent-a-bikes, all located in or nearby Amsterdam’s overly protected UNESCO world heritage ‘historical urban ensemble‘. […]