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Dinner in an Amsterdam Banlieue

Posted Jun 18 2008 7:09pm

A friend in Amsterdam writes: 

I went to my [Moroccan] friend’s family’s apartment in Slotervaart and we watched Turkish soap operas dubbed in Arabic.  At one point, the characters showed a map of Europe and the Middle East, with various arrows pointing back and forth.  I asked her what they were, and she said they were maps of drug trafficking routes from Holland to Istanbul.  Then my friend and her sister laid out a plate of sheeps’ stomach while I was in the bathroom and waited to see whether I would eat it.  I explained that although it had smelled good before I knew what it was, the thought of eating it made me feel sick, but I felt obligated to eat a tiny bite of it anyway.

Slotervaart is not technically a banlieue (outskirt) of Amsterdam but it is functionally the same as the Paris banlieues. It is where Muslim immigrants live.

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