(Mis)naming schools as ‘black’ and ‘white’ in the Netherlands

Hülya Kosar Altinyelken, Marieke Slootman and Dehlia Timman discuss why in the Netherlands we still call some schools ‘black’, and some ‘white’. What do these words really mean? Is it time to replace them?

It is common in the Netherlands to speak of primary and secondary schools as ‘black schools’ or ‘white schools’. Indeed, the Netherlands is the only country in Europe where schools with high number of migrant students are labelled as ‘black’.

During the programme we will unpack these terms and question the fact that so many of us in the media, academia and education are comfortably using these labels. The discussion will evolve around some pertinent questions such as: Who is using these labels, when and for what purposes? What messages do these highly charged labels communicate? How accurate, appropriate and useful are they? To what extent are these labels embraced by largest immigrant groups such as Turks and Moroccans? What are the (unintended) implications of this discourse on identity development and social integration of children from immigrant families?

It is highly time to open up a discussion on these terms in the Netherlands, particularly considering the discussions and tensions relating to ethnic/religious minorities, group identities, belonging and citizenship across Europe and in the USA. 

For more information about the prorgam click

To for this program is free, but mandatory.

Location: SPUI 25
Spui 25-27, Amsterdam,




21 nov 2016 - 17:00 tot 18:30
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