SUBURBAN VIOLENCE IN THE NETHERLANDS
by Sven Engel (EFUS News, October 27, 2007)
The nightly troubles that have occurred in the Dutch city of Slotervaart, a suburban town of 45’000 inhabitants close to Amsterdam, recall the continuing crisis of suburban metropolitan areas in Europe, and the ongoing difficulties in relationships between disadvantaged youth and European police forces. The violence was triggered when 22-year old Bilal B., a Dutch citizen of Moroccan decent, suffering from psychological troubles was killed by Dutch police officers on October 14th, 2007, supposedly in self-defense. The following night, groups of youth took their rage to the street, burning cars and throwing stones at the police station. Calls to peace that were issued by the mayor apparently could not calm events, and the violence has continued since, with Dutch media heavily focusing on the immigrant community of Slotervaart, rather than on the police investigation which should be under way to shed light on the death of Bilal B.
There is surely enough reason to worry about this Dutch case of suburban violence, triggered by the problematic relationship of youth and national police, since it is but another example in a Europe-wide phenomenon. From the suburban violence that shook France and ultimately led to the establishment of emergency law, to the communal violence in British cities, and the troubles between Spanish youth and police, to the violence that followed the eviction of a youth squat in Copenhagen, serious problems persist in many European cities, which struggle to improve the perspectives of disadvantaged youth while working on better policing.
On conflict resolution, see also the SecuTopic MEDIATION in the left-hand menu.
Read the recommendations on “New conflicts, new solutions” adopted by European cities in the ZARAGOZA MANIFESTO in November 2006
EFUS position on suburban violence in France (Nov 2005)
EFUS News on migrant youth and violence in Madrid (Jan 2007)
EFUS News on violence following the eviction of a youth centre in Copenhagen (Apr 2007)
EFUS News on immigration and youth violence in Germany (Mar 2006)
FFSU publication on Gangs in France (2006)