In the 1950s and 1960s, the Netherlands experienced a significant shortage of labor. After initially attracting guest workers from countries such as Spain, Italy, Yugoslavia, and Greece, a wave of workers from Turkey began in the early 1960s. On August 19, 1964, the Netherlands and Turkey signed a labor contract to recruit workers. During the 1960s, for example, they worked at the Philips factory, Ford factory, Thomassen & Drijver, shipbuilding industry, and Fokker factory in The Hague. Without them, the Dutch economy would never have become as strong as it is today.  

Initiator, Sahin Yildirim: “Without the Turkish guest workers, the Dutch economy would never have become as strong as it is today.” 

The great cultural diversity of the contemporary Netherlands is historically rooted. The identity and urban culture of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague are closely intertwined with their labor history. This is reflected in how people live, family life, language use, and socio-cultural diversity. Atlas Cultural Center aims to organize various activities in The Hague in the context of 60 years of Turkish labor migration, thereby providing equal opportunities to residents, keeping the city in development, and creating support to bring different groups together, promote dialogue, and foster new encounters. 

1963 Ali Dag in a Ford Factory. Photographer unknown.

Atlas Cultural Center in The Hague aims to establish various activities surrounding 60 years of Turkish labor migration in the Netherlands

  • Photo exhibition in the Atrium City Hall from October 23 to November 18, 2024 (traveling)
  • Book ’60 years, 60 stories’ 
  • Educational programs 
  • Lectures and dialogue sessions 
  • Literary evenings 
  • Workshops 
  • Music concert
  • Theatrical performance 

The book 60 years, 60 stories
To make this unique project a success, Atlas Cultural Centre will publish the book 60 years, 60 stories. You can help them with this. Every order brings them closer to realizing this project. After the book presentation on October 23, 2024 (location t.b.d.) every buyer of the book will receive a signed copy of the book.

Atlas Cultureel Centrum (Atlas Cultural Centre)
In 2013, a group of residents of The Hague took the initiative to make the history of the first guest workers known to a wide audience. Their motivation was as simple as it was important: Those who do not honor their past lose the future, and those who destroy their roots can no longer grow.

Atlas Cultural Center was officially founded in 2014 to preserve, preserve and transfer the knowledge, experiences, successes and failures of these migrants (Spaniards, Italians, Greeks, Turks and Moroccans) to the new generation.

For more information and to buy the book, go to (Dutch only)