Everyday spaces of inter-ethnic interaction: the meaning of urban public spaces in the Netherlands

K.B.M. Peters, H.J. de Haan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnic diversity is manifest in public spaces by the presence of people originating from all over the world. It is also manifest in typical ethnic spaces that are predominantly used by specific ethnic groups. This article focuses on how people from various ethnic backgrounds use urban public spaces and the meaning that they attach to them. It examines the extent to which frequent inter-ethnic interaction in public spaces generates more awareness and acceptance of multiculturalism and how it affects private bonding. The article is a result of qualitative research (observations and semi-structured interviews) conducted in a neighbourhood of a medium-sized city in the Netherlands. We show that although the residents appreciate cultural diversity, this appreciation of diversity does not lead to multicultural interactions that go beyond small talk in stores. However, positive feelings for and experiences of diversity have a significant impact on peoples' attitudes, because these feelings and experiences contribute to a more realistic view of multiculturalism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-190
JournalLeisure = Loisir
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Everyday life
  • Multicultural neighbourhood
  • Public space
  • Social interaction


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