Amsterdam: tolerance and inclusion

Avner de Shalit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reading testimonies and diaries of people of ethnic minorities in Amsterdam in the 17th and 18th century one cannot but admire Amsterdam for its policies of inclusion, which, actually inspired John Locke when he wrote A Letter Concerning Toleration. And yet, the traumas of the Jews in the Second World War and the Surinamese in the 1970s suggest that this model of inclusion and toleration was unstable and fragile. Indeed, in recent years many Amsterdamers have acknowledged that the city betrayed not only its ethnic minorities but also its own values. The shift in policies of tolerance which characterizes contemporary Amsterdam is interpreted here as a modification of the ethos of tolerance, from tolerance and inclusion based on indifference to tolerance and inclusion based on curiosity. This ethos includes seeing the other as part of one’s own ‘self’, and the ‘self’ as plural, or, as several Amsterdamers told me, ‘hybrid’.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)742-759
Number of pages18
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Amsterdam
  • hybrid self
  • inclusion
  • multiculturalism
  • tolerance


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