Thursday, 24 December 2015 - 16:25
Video: Writer, ex-refugee "lucky" to enjoy Amsterdam's diversity
Writer, political science student and former Congolese refugee Kiza Magendane thinks being able to live and get an education in the Netherlands is "one of the luckiest things one can have", he told Chantal Inen in an interview for the NL Times. Magendane fled Congo in 2007 for Tanzania, and came to the Netherlands in 2008 after winning his right to asylum there. He lived in several parts of the country before moving to Amsterdam. Magendane is now a student at the University of Amsterdam studying political science. He also has an active interest in Amsterdam's city council, Dutch politics and diversity in the Netherlands. In October Magendane launched a hotline where people can register complaints against the PVV, in response to PVV leader Geert Wilders launching a hotline for complaints about asylum seekers and refugees. The PVV stated that they launched the hotline due to the increased violence and crime in and around asylum centers across the Netherlands. Earlier this month deputy police chief Ruud Bik stated that the idea that asylum seekers cause a significant influx in crime is "absolutely incorrect". According to professor of immigration Leo Lucassen, the Dutch are generally accepting of refugees and asylum seekers, and that violent protests and riots such as in Geldermalsen last week are the exception rather than the rule. Magendane agrees, adding that in some places it is harder for foreigners to integrate into Dutch society than in others. He believes Amsterdam is the best place for a foreigner in the Netherlands, because the city is already used to "this multicultural idea" and that makes it easier to accept each other's differences. He cannot imagine anything like the Geldermalsen riots happening in Amsterdam.