From a warm welcome to doubts and criticism. Eindhoven residents’ reactions to the arrival of refugees in the city centre vary. Starting next week, over 100 asylum seekers and status holders will arrive in hotel Glow and restaurant Dirven on Keizersgracht. “We have to help them after all.”
A hotel in the city centre as a reception location for refugees seems like an emergency move by the municipality to provide reception places. And it will not stop there. Still this year, the city has to house another 800 asylum seekers. A huge task, in other words. “For me there is no need, we already accommodate enough asylum seekers and it only costs money, it is us who have to pay” a man at the market complains to Studio040.
A woman, also shopping Tuesday afternoon, is more nuanced. “We just have to help these people. They are not all fortune seekers, as many say. We can give these people a place and we need to.”
At the grocery market in the centre of Eindhoven, some people are especially surprised by the location in the middle of the city centre and the nuisance that it may cause. “They all will wander through the city and then you get fights and stabbings. I’m really afraid of that,” a woman reveals. “In the city centre, there is just something to do for the asylum seekers, so then they really won’t get nasty,” opposes another elderly lady. “We know this from our own youngsters too. If they have nothing to do, then they will become troublesome,” she adds to Studio040.
The city government believes there are enough facilities to keep the asylum seekers and status holders busy in the location. Having also the Dirven property as a part of the reception site will allow more facilities to be offered to the young refugees, such as a separate outdoor area, a kitchen and communal areas for recreation. “This provides more opportunities for day care and activities within the site, reducing the pressure on the surrounding area,” the mayor and aldermen said.
Furthermore, additional police officers and enforcers will be operating around the site. Security guards from COA (Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers) must ensure that the vulnerable young people are well protected. According to the municipality, the asylum seekers are vulnerable and may become victims of exploitation or human trafficking.
The shelter on Keizersgracht is for one year for now. On Tuesday evening, residents and business owners in the neighbourhood will be updated on the plans.