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Het asielzoekerscentrum als buurthuis? Over vrijwilligerswerk in asielzoekerscentra in Amsterdam en Brussel

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden Asylum centres, Community centres, Refugees, Civic engagement, Interpretive policy analyses
Auteurs Rosaly Studulski en Nanke Verloo
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Citizens are being activated to organize activities in asylum centres in both the Netherlands and Belgium. That way, asylum centres are expected to become better integrated in the local context of a municipality or neighbourhood. This ideal of citizenship does not stand on its own. The policy object to integrate asylum centres in the local context has parallels with broader societal and academic discussions about citizen participation and active citizenship. The object, however, is now the asylum seeker. In this article we research how voluntary work in two asylum centres takes shape and how policy could support voluntary activities better. A comparative interpretive policy analysis of two asylum centres in Amsterdam and Brussel shows how voluntary work is stimulated by policy, how these policies are implemented locally, and how they are experienced in daily practices of volunteers and professionals. The cases reveal stark differences, but exactly those contrasts lead to important lessons. We show that because of this policy, the asylum centre is often functioning as a community centre, that integration can be strengthened by volunteers, but we are also critical when voluntary activities are driven by an ideal picture of the ‘good asylum seeker’. There is a risk that the societal responsibility for integrating and engaging asylum seekers in the local context is pushed on the shoulders of unpaid volunteers and that activities are exclusively for one group. That is why we conclude that professional support and financial resources are crucial to implement the policy ideal of active citizenship in asylum centers.


Rosaly Studulski
Rosaly Studulski, MSc. is onlangs afgestudeerd in de Research Master Urban Studies aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam en sindsdien werkzaam bij het Projectmanagementbureau van de Gemeente Amsterdam.

Nanke Verloo
Dr. Nanke Verloo is werkzaam als Universitair Docent in Stedelijke Planologie aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam en redacteur bij Beleid en Maatschappij.

    Since 2018, the Department of Public Administration of the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (BMS) of the University of Twente, in close cooperation with the municipality Zwolle, the Province of Overijssel and BMC advice, have been organizing the yearly Van Poelje lecture (named after administrative scientist and founder of Dutch Public Administration Gerrit van Poelje). The first lecture took place on 29 January 2018 in the ‘Grote Kerk’ in Zwolle. The subject of the lecture was the secret of successful regions: which policy works? Otto Raspe of the Dutch Planning Agency for the Environment delivered the keynote speech. Presentations from the administrative field were given by Henk Jan Meijer (mayor of the municipality Zwolle) and Staf Depla (alderman of the municipality Eindhoven) who respectively addressed the cooperation in the regions Zwolle and South-East Brabant. Bert van Delden responded from the point of view of the Home Office (he deputized for his minister, Kajsa Ollongren). After a short debate, the afternoon was closed by Marcel Boogers (senior advisor at BMC and professor at the University of Twente) with a scientific reflection on the subject of the lecture. The main message of the keynote speaker Otto Raspe was that an urban region is successful if it is able to use its agglomeration advantages. This is possible by seeking connections between clusters and the knowledge infrastructure, and between human capital and a pleasant living and social climate.


Dr. Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de joint degree Public Governance across Borders aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    Since 2001, the Dutch province of Overijssel has had its own knowledge centre focusing on urban society, called the ‘KennisInstituut Stedelijke Samenleving’ (KISS), alongside national knowledge centres. This essay gives an overview of some relevant KISS meetings devoted to a many kinds of citizen participation. The overview is based on reports made by the author himself. Examples of citizen participation are: the new styles of neighbourhood governance, citizen participation through neighbourhood budgets, the strength of the city and location-based leadership, innovative urban renewal and the promotion of citizen initiatives in the province of Overijssel. Examples are not only from the province of Overijssel (situated in the east of the Netherlands), but also from other parts of the Netherlands and other countries (Flanders, United Kingdom, United States and all over the world). The subject of citizen participation (in connection with urban renewal and administrative leadership) enjoys an ever-increasing popularity as is shown by the number of KISS meetings devoted to this subject.


Dr. Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de opleiding European Public Administration aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    This article identifies institutions and arrangements concerning the reconciliation of working life and family life for various European countries. These institutions and arrangements concern time (flexible working hours and leave arrangements), money (tax systems) and facilities (childcare facilities). A fairer distribution of all work and care tasks requires proper facilities at national level in respect of childcare, parental leave, so-called leave savings schemes, the right to work part-time, etc. Such facilities are of particular importance while taking the first steps towards a fairer distribution: they will enable men to take on more tasks at home, while making it easier for women to work outside the home. The article concludes that with regard to reconciliation facilities, the differences between the several welfare states within the European Union are fading away. This is interesting, because as a result the EU countries are increasingly finding common ground in terms of solutions for reconciliation and more specifically the role of men.


Ivy Koopmans
Ivy Koopmans is als onderzoeker verbonden aan de Utrecht School of Economics van de Universiteit Utrecht. Adres: Utrecht School of Economics, Vredenburg 138, 3511 BG Utrecht, I.Koopmans@econ.uu.nl

Joop Schippers
Joop Schippers is hoogleraar Arbeids- en Emancipatie-economie aan de Universiteit Utrecht en tevens is hij als programmahoogleraar verbonden aan de Organisatie voor Strategisch Arbeidsmarktonderzoek (OSA). Adres: Utrecht School of Economics, Vredenburg 138, 3511 BG Utrecht

Julien Topal
Julien Topal (MA) is als PhD-onderzoeker verbonden aan het departement van Sociale en Politieke wetenschappen van het European University Institute te Florence.
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