Criminal, Cosmopolitan, Commodified: How Rotterdam’s Interwar Amusement Street, the Schiedamsedijk, Became a Safe Mirror Image of Itself

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Abstract

This chapter develops a layered analysis of the Schiedamsedijk, Rotterdam’s interwar amusement street. It links the street’s split socio-cultural character to that of port cities in general, and investigates this along the lines of a similar divide in perceptions of safety and security. Based on an historical bird’s-eye view of the pleasure area, the Schiedamsedijk’s criminal and cosmopolitan sides are discussed. Both of these maritime urban traits were neutralised when the Schiedamsedijk reinvented itself as a domestic tourist attraction in the late 1930s. Through visual sources, interchanges are foregrounded between contrasting internal and external perspectives on safety, which ultimately help to nuance and reframe the stereotypical characters and ambiguous nature traditionally ascribed to this historical environment of pleasure culture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cultural Construction of Safety and Security
Subtitle of host publicationImaginaries, Discourses and Philosophies that Shaped Modern Europe
EditorsGemma Blok, Jan Oosterholt
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Pages107-128
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789048555208
ISBN (Print)9789463720472
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

'The Cultural Construction of Safety and Security' was made possible by a grant from: Open Access Stimuleringsfonds; HERA project ‘Governing the Narcotic City. Imaginaries, Practices, Discourses and Consequences of Public Drug Use’; Faculty CW Open Universiteit

Keywords

  • cosmopolitanism
  • interwar period
  • pleasure
  • port city
  • Rotterdam
  • safety

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