Cultural Globalization and the Identity of Place: The Reconstruction of Amsterdam – Article Review

At the start of the article, Nijman, the author, writes that its content is essentially discussions about the impact brought by cultural globalization upon urban identities. He explains that it includes both a theoretical and an empirical part. To introduce the topic of discussion, the author gives a simple outlay of the region in discussion, the case study city. In addition, he references from a speech made a few years ago by the mayor of the case study city, a speech containing a theme closely related to the discussion topic. The author’s introduction successfully provides a frame of the discussion in the body of the article by repeatedly mentioning issues concerning globalization and its culturally influencing effects. More so, the constant reference to the city of Amsterdam in the author’s introduction helps one to understand that all discussions and arguments in the main part of the article relate on a case study of the city of Amsterdam. In short, at the end of this article’s introduction, an avid reader is able to understand that it is aiming at discussing issues having to do with cultural globalization and mass tourism, and more specifically the extent to which they lead to identity reconstruction of modern urban habitats, with Amsterdam as a good example.


The general argument in Nijman’s article is about the extent of identity reconstruction facing the city of Amsterdam. According to him, it is the globalization of information flows coupled with mass tourism, all very dominant in the past three decades or so, that has contributed to most of the identity change of Amsterdam. According to the author, in as much as globalization has taken effect in major places around the world, Amsterdam included, it has not been very easy to change the pre-existing cultural setups. He continues to say that it is true that globalization has evidently undermined the original form of Amsterdam’s culture but has not erased it completely.

As the discussion continues, Nijman argues that in the past, Amsterdam’s cultural representation and its commercial functions were at par, something that is absent in today’s world. Presently, the economic roles of Amsterdam are very separate from its cultural roles. The inner city concentrates chiefly on consumer and foreign tourism services while producer’s services are in the outskirts of the city. This is a significantly visible identity change. It is due to the amount of mass tourism and the globalization of information flow that such notable change happened in such a short time in the city of Amsterdam. In short, the basic agreement in the article illustrates the fact that globalization lays much emphasis on understanding the general world’s cultural landscape while totally overlooking the importance of understanding individual places. However, the author of this article is quick to mention that the effects of both cultural globalization and mass tourism are not an issue only in Amsterdam. He notifies the reader that Amsterdam is only a city he chose to elaborate effectively and efficiently the effects of the two aspects in today’s world urban cities that have a long history of existence. In the light of this, he argues that across all Europe, and all other regions with a relatively long history of urbanization, most cities are also undergoing identity reconstruction because of the effects of both cultural globalization and mass tourism.

Structure of the Paper

The layout of this article is very appealing. In his quest to make the readers of his article more motivated, the author structured his article in a simple and straightforward manner that incites all readers to make an effort and keep reading. The article’s content appears under different sections that are under very eye-catching sub headings. Each of the sections gives a significant contribution to the general discussion theme characterizing the entire article. The follow up between consecutive sections portrays a clear understanding about what the article entails.

The introduction starts by giving a general overview of what readers should expect to read in the article. It also mentions the importance of the article in understanding the discussion topic. The next section contains general information about cultural globalization and its effects on the identity of a place. This section leads to the next, which covers about the historic identity of a specific place in the case study, Amsterdam. After this section, the author dedicates another section to reflect on the relationship between globalization and mass tourism, and their effects impact on re-identification of Amsterdam. After this, the next section sums up all the contents of the article in the conclusion. Lastly, the author includes a section in which he acknowledges all the individuals and associations who helped in the compilation of the article.

Literature Review

In his article, other than his personal perspective on the issue of cultural globalization and the identity of places, Nijman also included numerous views and opinions from other notable sources. This is evident from the numerous and clear citations and references he has made to support his arguments. In theory, the author refers to speeches by relevant stakeholders who know a lot about Amsterdam. More so, he refers to the first hand information that is readily available from just observing the visible aspects contained in the article’s discussion. Other than citing from oral literature, Nijman refers from published sources too. The range of literally publications from which he makes citations includes books, journals, academic articles, reports and newspaper articles.

All the cited works appear inside the article as well as in the reference list at the end of the article. Inside the article, the cited works are under footnotes while others appear directly inside quotation marks. The choice of the works from which citations refer indicates how well the author was equipped for preparing this article. Some of the citations are from literatures with information of Amsterdam’s past history, others about Amsterdam in this new age. Some are about the factors affecting identity change in various places, with some relating directly to Amsterdam. There are some about globalization and mass tourism, alongside their effects on local cultures. Essentially, all the literature works cited by Nijman in the preparation of this article are in line with what the article generally intends to discuss.


In pursuit the pursuit of providing the very best results in his article, Nijman employed very nice and articulate techniques in argument delivery. To start with, most of his arguments find their basis in a wide field of literatures formerly written about the discussion topic in the article. This means that he relied to a significant extent on secondary sources of information and data. However, all the sources of secondary information are from credible individuals and organizations. In the light of this, the author has used the relevant literally skills to synchronize the ideas and opinions of all the writers of his secondary sources to relate in the best way possible with his argument in the entire article. The author used this technique in most of his article.

However, it is worth noting that in some instances, the author was keen to incorporate another mechanism in the quest of creating a vivid picture of his argument. Particularly, in the section where the author discusses about the effects of globalization and mass tourism in re-identifying the city of Amsterdam, the author makes the use of visual effects to clear some points. The pictures in pages 152, 154, 157, 158, and 161 are good examples that help the author to illustrate the extent of globalization and mass tourism in redefining the inner city identity of Amsterdam. In short, the author establishes a simple method to air his arguments and keep the discussion motivating. The incurrence of views from various sources assists in validating the content of this article. The visual tools used also act as a way to create and drive the author’s argument deep to the understanding of anyone who reads this article. It is also important to note that the author uses relatively short and clear paragraphs. The choice of words is also reader attracting. In the entire article, there are very few instances where the author applied technical jargon to elaborate a specific point or idea.


In the conclusion section of the article, Nijman, the author, expresses his prowess in the ability to draw all summaries from all other presiding sections into one agreeable summary. The conclusion is short and simple to understand. However, it contains many details that effectively and efficiently summarize all arguments initiated and developed in all the other sections it succeeds. In the conclusion, the author starts by stating that it is evident that the reconstruction of Amsterdam’s identity is subject to the extent of mass tourism and globalization. This is an indication that the discussion is now over and it is the time for the readers to understand the author’s point of view.

The author proposes the idea of Amsterdam, just as many other European cities, undergoing identity reconstruction due to the factors of brought about by globalization. However, he continues and says that although globalization undermines the original forms of various cultures, it does not succeed in completely changing the culture of the locals. This he supports by saying that the effects of globalization, as far as identity reconstruction in Amsterdam is concerned, are clearly visible in inner city Amsterdam. The conservatives of cultural identity still operate the activities of ancient Amsterdam in the outskirts of the city.

In the conclusion, the author does not suggest any further research on any area concerning cultural globalization or the reconstruction of place identities. With all the literatures he reviewed in his article, it is possible that he felt that there already are enough research findings about those issues. However, at the end of his conclusion, Nijman emphasizes the need of people to know that Amsterdam is not the only city that has undergone the effects of both cultural globalization and mass tourism. He says even though the effects in Amsterdam are extreme, the current world faces a continuously growing superficiality of urban identities, affecting very many other cities across the globe.

About the Article’s Bibliography

The efficiency and the effectiveness of any article that discusses such a controversial issue depend hugely on the validity and reliability of the cited sources. The quality of the article as well as the ability to draw a relevant conclusion is in most cases directly proportional to the number of sources cited in the article. In the light of the above, Nijman, the author of this article excelled in the preparation of the article since he used numerous sources, thirty-nine sources in particular. This is evident from the number of in text citations, which bear footnotes that expand later in a reference list at the end of the article. Among the thirty-nine sources, fifteen are books and nine are research articles. The remaining come from various other sources of secondary information such as newspaper and magazine articles. It is quite a credit that the author did not use any internet sources. Consequently, he then did not by any chance make a citation from Wikipedia. All the above factors summed up, that is, the numerous reference sources, the varying types of the sources, the emphasis on popular sources, and the absence of Wikipedia sources help in creating the credibility of this article. It is very normal for people to profile an article by the basis of the quality or the quantity of the sources referenced in it. Amidst such readers, this article provides a bibliographical richness that qualifies it for a success to all unbiased readers.


  • Nijman, J. (1999). Cultural Globalization and the Identity of Place: The Reconstruction of Amsterdam. Cultural Geographies , 146-164.
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