Amsterdam’s Bijlmerpark to be renamed the Nelson Mandelapark

Amsterdam’s Bijlmerpark to be renamed the Nelson Mandelapark

The Amsterdam College of Mayor and Alderpersons has endorsed plans to change the name of the Bijlmerpark to the Nelson Mandelapark, subsequent to a proposal submitted by the City Council to honour Nelson Mandela and emphasise the connection of this extraordinary man with Amsterdam. Renaming a suitable location in the city is part of this initiative. The City Council will make a final decision regarding the plans in October.

Earlier this year, Amsterdammers were invited to vote online for their favourite location to be renamed. They could choose between five locations: the Bijlmerpark, Hoekenrode, Java Island, Sausalitolaan (Overhoeks) and Stadspark Osdorp. With 37.3% of all votes, the Bijlmerpark was the most popular location. An independent survey conducted by the City of Amsterdam also indicated that the Bijlmerpark was the most popular option.

Mandela and Amsterdam
Former South African President and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela passed away on Thursday, 5 December 2013. As leader of the African National Congress (ANC), Mandela fought against apartheid – the official system of racial segregation in South Africa. In 1963, he was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. Amsterdam had a special relationship with Nelson Mandela. Protests against the South African apartheid system were frequent occurrences in the city during the 1980s and, in 1989, Amsterdam even accommodated the ANC headquarters. Following his release from prison, Nelson Mandela visited Amsterdam a total of five times and he was awarded the Gold Medal of the City of Amsterdam in 1999.

In light of Nelson Mandela’s status and his close connection with Amsterdam, the unveiling of the new name will be suitably celebratory. The exact date of any such celebrations will be announced in due course.

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