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Five years of News from Amsterdam

Today five years ago, the first article was posted on News from Amsterdam. An overview.

On 8 December 2005, News from Amsterdam was launched. A first short article dealt with social assistance recipients who were fed up with the welfare agency interfering with their appearances. Later that month, the first serious article was published, dealing with actions against exploitation at a Thai restaurant.

In 2006, News from Amsterdam organised the election of Amsterdam’s most irritating traffic light. (At the time, I promised that there would be a follow-up. Should you have an opinion on whether this should be done after all, please let me know. Of course, other suggestions are welcome too.)

Abolish term ‘allochtoon’

So far, the article most people clicked on is the English version of an article on municipal plans to switch to open source software. The article was picked up by the international open source community, resulting in 34,000 page views. Other popular articles include Mogelijk protest tegen Starbucks Amsterdam (en), I am El Hema (en), Drieëntwintig liquidaties tijdens bezetting (en), Air hostesses at the Stedelijk and Activisme anno 2009: Loungen voor terrasverwarming (en).

The article quoted most extensively by other media was an article reporting on a News from Amsterdam survey finding that many council members wanted rid of the term ‘allochtoon’, which designates members of ethnic minorities. On a slow news Sunday two years ago, the report was picked up by almost all Dutch media as well as a few Belgian websites.

On 24 December 2005, the first article in English appeared on News from Amsterdam. At first, only a selection of the Dutch articles was translated. Today, almost all articles are published both in Dutch and in English.

Spartan html pages

News from Amsterdam enthusiastically uses photos that have been published under a creative commons license. Occasionally, other media also use photos published by News from Amsterdam, as public broadcaster NOS did recently.

Until two years ago, News from Amsterdam consisted of Spartan html pages. When updating them became too laborious, a switch to a CMS was made. The choice fell on Drupal, an open source CMS that handles multilingual content well.

Currently, News from Amsterdam has 1,200 followers on Twitter and 725 subscribers to the weekly newsletter.

Dirk Kloosterboer

8 December 2010 |