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Project: ‘Embracing diversity’

Project: ‘Embracing diversity’: Experiences of first-generation Dutch-Moroccan and Dutch-Turkish students at the VU


VU University Amsterdam is known as a diverse university, and many students have a ‘non-western’ background. But the backgrounds of this diversity and the experiences of those involved have hardly been researched from a historical perspective. This oral history project focuses on experiences of Dutch-Moroccan and Dutch-Turkish first-generation students at the VU from the 1980s onwards.


The project will start in September 2022. First-generation students will be interviewed about the reasons why they started studying at the VU, their experiences with fellow students, staff, the diversity policy at the VU, and changing attitudes towards Islam at the university and in the Netherlands. The interviews will take place in January 2023 as part of the ‘Oral History and Biography’ course for history students. Students will conduct the interviews here under supervision. Moreover, the interviews will be permanently stored for reuse in cooperation with DANS and the University Archive/Stadsarchief Amsterdam.


The project will be led by Norah Karrouche, associate professor at the VU University of Amsterdam and specialised, among other things, in the (memory) culture of North African communities in Europe; and Ab Flipse, university historian at the VU University of Amsterdam. It is supported by third-year history student and student assistant Oumayma Akachaou Achaffay.


The project is made possible by Clue+: Research Institute for Culture, Cognition, History and Heritage and takes place in collaboration with several other VU centres, such as the Decolonisation LAB, the HDC Centre for Religious History, and the Stevin Centre for History of Science and Humanities.


More information about this project? Interested in participating in the project? Contact student assistant Oumayma.