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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 April 2007, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Global Perspective
First broadcast April 2007

Dutch Muslims praying and the Dutch flag

In the Global Perspective series, BBC World Service and seven of its partner stations around the world bring a global perspective on a given theme.

This year, each partner has been examining belief.

Whether a clash between traditional and contemporary beliefs, beliefs that sustain identity, belief in religious entitlement to riches or the absence of belief, the series offers a range of vivid insights.

Programme Four: Little Fish in a Multicultural Pond

Just a short tram ride from the centre of Amsterdam is the Baarsjes - or "little fish" - neighbourhood.

Bordered by the Baarsjes Canal on the north side and Rembrandt Park on the south, the area's one-and-a-half square kilometres house 35,000 residents from 126 countries - one of the largest collections of immigrant communities in the world.

But such multicultural diversity in such a small area has not been without serious problems.

Moroccan youths interrupted a local World War Two Remembrance Day ceremony shouting anti-Semitic slogans, while the proposed building of a new Turkish mosque caused controversy over the height of the minaret.

A recent study revealed that a high percentage of Muslims and homosexuals experienced discrimination in the neighbourhood.

But residents believe they can make a difference by taking initiatives to bring these diverse communities together - through meetings, sport and cultural events.

Producer David Swatling of Radio Netherlands Worldwide has lived in the Baarsjes for over ten years. He takes to the streets of his neighbourhood to find out just how much is changing for the "Little Fish in a Multicultural Pond".


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