Institutions in the Netherlands take a conservative attitude toward cultural identity and citizenship, and show a lack of hospitality in not extending full rights to immigrants.7 The government requires three generations of continuous citizenship in order to be legally recognized as Dutch. The racial and religious (Islamic) discrimination displayed at IJburg conveyed the failure of the utopian promise of this new suburb. Newspaper reports by early IJburg residents protesting that their neighbours included Moroccans (van Heeswijk 17 June 2011 interview with author). replayed Dutch debates on immigration of the last decade that have weakened the Netherland’s reputation for being a tolerant and pluralistic society. An extreme example of the polarization of opinions along cultural and religious fault lines were the murders of Pim Fortuyn in 2002 and Theo van Gogh in 2004 (Duyvendak, Hendriks and van Niekerk 2009: 14-15). Scholars and politicians have argued that the residues of the pillarized organization in Dutch social policy overvalue cultural difference and neglect the urgent need’ for newcomers to integrate into society (Duyvendak, Hendriks and van Niekerk 2009: 14). Other social commentators characterize these events as an urban calamity, a citizen revolt against elitist powers divorced from the reality of frictions evident within the changing population mix (Duyvendak, Hendriks and van Niekerk 2009: 9, 16).
The Blue House member Jo van der Speck, an independent journalist and activist for improved immigrant conditions in the Netherlands, delivered undocumented immigrant Cheikh Papa’ Sakho to The Blue House to undertake a residency in 2006. Pushing legal boundaries, The Blue House offered Sakho asylum after he escaped the fire in the Schiphol migrant detention centre the previous year. The Dutch media broadcast the news of Sakho’s arrival at night. Together, Speck and Sakho organized Migrant to Migrant (M2M) radio, an Internet programme broadcast to migrant communities from The Blue House every Friday night, which also welcomed the participation of locals and members in residence (see m2m.streamtime.org). In providing a forum for different cultural voices and promoting the well-being of immigrants, van der Speck and Sakho challenged the embrace of more open concepts of nationality and citizenship by all, including members.8
In order to further address the challenge of how to offer cultural hospitality in the IJburg environment, van Heeswijk organized The Frida project’ (van Heeswijk 17 June 2011 interview). Between 2008 and 2009 she offered full-time employment to a number of undocumented women migrants from countries such as Brazil and Bangladesh who worked illegally by day on IJburg as cleaners. They were employed individually as the resident host of The Blue House, all under the pseudonym Frida’. In hosting guests and preparing meals, including the M2M dinners, the Fridas made apparent the invisible economy of undocumented workers. The reversal of normative positions in the Frida project necessitated that these women, their guests and neighbours confront expectations and negotiate power relations. The presence of the Fridas further blurred the lines between the roles of Reed’s host and un-host, or participant and observer. The Frida project’ potentially pointed to the false divisions between the roles and responsibilities of nationality and citizenship in the Netherlands and its systematic effect on economic opportunity, access to resources and well-being. It questioned the definition of a good neighbour and indicated the fluctuating nature of hospitality between the possibility of unconditional individual or collective hospitality and the legal and political instruments of states in soft globalization.9
Coulter. A vertical blade or wheel mounted on a plow Beirut Map Tourist Attractions that cuts the ground ahead of the plowshare. Council for New England. Founded in 1621, Beirut Map Tourist Attractions the Council for New England was granted a royal charter for the lands between Philadelphia and the south coast of Newfoundland. The governor and head of this council, Frederic Gorges, was responsible only to the Crown and had the right to grant land charters. The council was dissolved in 1639.