#BLM in Amsterdam: A Closer Look

By Ahana Majumdar | June 14, 2020

Photo by Charley Rousset


As 2020 unfolds, we are faced with many challenges and gaps in our public health and socio-political atmospheres. Although some predicaments such as the COVID-19 pandemic were unforeseen, others like systemic racism have been seen for generations. How is it that we can celebrate milestones in science, technology and medicine, yet ignore the lack of basic human rights and institutionalized discrimination in front of our own eyes? While many argue that the issue is American, the root of the problem extends to the world; and everyone should play a role in being a part of the solution. 


June 1st, 2020 saw a Black Lives Matter protest in Amsterdam’s own, Dam Square. Thousands of people, including University of Amsterdam students, participated in the movement to share their anger, passion and solidarity towards all the innocent lives that are lost regularly because of racial discrimination. “This protest was so different, you know? You could really sense that people have had enough,” said Julia Dahmen, a student from Media and Culture, when asked about the atmosphere on the evening of June 1st. Dahmen, like many others, was pleasantly surprised at the amount of people that came to offer their support that day. Such a heavily packed crowd only proved one thing – how desperate everyone is for an end to the systemic racism, state-sponsored police violence and economic exploitation in every corner of the world. “I believe that just because a topic may be controversial to bring up in a conversation is no excuse to avoid talking about it.“ These powerful words by Matteo Azzali, another student from Media and Culture, are crucial to remember when one finds themselves in a position of disagreement. While it may be easy to turn away from subtle racism among friends and family, we should stand up for what’s right and have the courage to defend those who need it. 

So much of the culture, art, music and films that we consume every day are produced by black people or people of colour, or inadvertently benefit from their exploitation. While this is often easy to overlook, now is the time to pay attention. Which is why this article curates a list of black owned businesses in Amsterdam that we can support during these difficult times, but also in the years to come.

African Blackstar Coffeeshop: come enjoy a “coffee” at one of Amsterdam’s best coffeeshops. Not only will you be participating in the infamous cannabis culture that Amsterdam has to offer, but you will be supporting a black owned business – it’s a win win!

Rozengracht 1A


Daily Paper Clothing: if you appreciate fashionable streetwear, check out Daily Paper Clothing’s exciting line of clothes. This way, you can support a good cause in style. 


Water & Brood: “Food is a language of love.” If you want to spread love and show your support, make sure to check out this restaurant owned by two brothers. While their menu delves into all kinds of cuisines, they specialize in Surinamese dishes inspired by their own roots.  

Nieuwe Kerkstraat 84


Labyrinth: come to Labyrinth for an evening filled with Caribbean food, creative locals, poetry and good company. 

“I believe that just because a topic may be controversial to bring up in a conversation is no excuse to avoid talking about it.

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