It is day two, we are planning to have breakfast at IKEA Utrecht every day of the week. Again we are in a hurry, this time because we have to come from Amsterdam. But today we arrive at ten, so we have still half an hour before the end of the breakfast. Geert recognizes people from yesterday. In my notes I am starting to call these regular guests 'professionals'. People who are specialized in our task for this week. But although the breakfast is our starting point, we want to sink deeper into the reality of the IKEA. Somehow it seems very important to focus on this huge multinational, which, synchronously with the renewal process in Kanaleneiland, wants to expand enormously. On Youtube we found an interesting clip about this expansion:
In this video the shop manager is explaining the benefits of the expansion for the people of the neighborhood. He states that the realization of the new plans will mean that the people will get the most beautiful IKEA of the Netherlands in their neighborhood, they will be able to buy the full range of IKEA products and moreover there will be more jobs. And in this video Dick Kool states that they will try to get these new employees as much as possible from Kanaleneiland. Can IKEA with its Billies be the answer to the problems of the boys of the hood? As DJ Loki puts it in his song 'Blijf van mijn wijk af':
De jongens in de buurt hebben echt geen arbeid.
Wanneer wordt dat veranderd? Het wordt eens tijd!
En als dat niet gebeurd komt er meer criminaliteit.
The boys in the neighborhood don't have jobs. It is time to change this, if not there will be more criminality.
Does IKEA feel the responsibility to change the high unemployment in Kanaleneiland? Does this fit in their corporate strategy or is it part of the set of demands made by the municipality of Utrecht in exchange for the expansion of the shop on municipal land? And what would happen if everybody in Kanaleneiland is employee of IKEA? As one big happy family..