Centre for Economic Transformation| CET

Tourism and image: ‘Hospitable Zuidoost’

How to spread the news of recent improvements?


The effort to improve the Bijlmer borough in Amsterdam can be called quite successful so far. In a relatively short period of time the area has undergone very real and improvements. The reputation of the Bijlmer is much slower to improve, however. How might the Amsterdam municipality best seize opportunities to communicate the many positive developments in the Bijlmer area?

The Bijlmer borough of Amsterdam has improved a lot over the past few years. Many of the internal barriers that separated various functions and areas have been removed and a substantial differentiation in housing options has emerged. A series of monitor reports shows that the area has improved in terms of liveability as well, with people from other areas no longer indicating any fear involved in visiting its shopping or entertainment areas.

Still too much of a bad name

But the negative reputation of ‘the Bijlmer’ as a place to live is persistent. Zuidoost municipality is well aware of the disadvantages this brings: the past has proven the devastating effect of a bad name. People are also aware that improving the reputation of the area comprises integral improvements beyond merely increasing the borough’s commercial appeal as a shopping and entertainment area.

It seems clear that Zuidoost has a lot of opportunities to develop itself in terms of more conventional business and leisure areas surrounding the area’s public transport hubs. It’s also evident that new ideas and intellectual challenges emerging from the Bijlmer itself are putting the area back on the map. The research question before us now is how the city can facilitate the opportunities and objectives formulated above.

Timeframe and partners

From February 2015 onwards a small research team lead by researcher Núria Arbonés Aran is underway preparing what will become a more long-term effort. The research is conducted in coordination with CAREM professorship Amsterdam Knowledge Economy Willem van Winden, Urban Management Field Lab Zuidoost and Amsterdam Zuidoost Partners.

Project Info

Start date 02 Feb 2015


Zita Ingen-Housz