The 21st century will be the century of superdiversity. Ethnic-cultural diversity in Europe continues to grow, even though governments try to limit further migration with a series of short-sighted measures. In Brussels, the capital city of Belgium and Europe, two out of every three residents has a migration background. Within a matter of years, Antwerp will also become a majority-minority city, as will many other European cities.

How will superdiversity change our society? How can we all manage to live together in superdiversity? This book wants to redefine the deadlocked ideological debate about the desirability (or otherwise) of a multicultural society. In the 21st century, it is no longer a question of 'whether' we want such a society or not, but a question of 'how' we can deal with a superdiverse reality that is already upon us. How can we make best use of the potential inherent in this superdiversity and how can we avoid the pitfalls it entails?

Superdiversity in the heart of Europe builds further of the concept of superdiversity as propounded by Steven Vertovec. It combines this framework with the work of Ulrich Beck and others to analyze the context of superdiversity in Belgium and the Netherlands. It also gives a summary of contemporary research into diversity in the heart of Europe. As such, it hopes to make a contribution towards the necessary normalization of superdiversity in our rapidly changing modern world.

More information on the book here.


“The book moves beyond a simple focus on ethnicity or country of origin to identify multiple differences including migration status, class, language and transnational networks. ‘Superdiversity in the heart of Europe’ tries to understand the transition from multiculturalism to superdiversity in Belgium using Steven Vertovec’s superdiversity as an emerging theory, in combination with the work of Ulrich Beck and a variety of scholars. The book is of value to those researching superdiversity elsewhere in Europe and in those countries that are beginning to experience the arrival of more people from more places and the complexification of their populations.”
Jenny Phillimore is Professor of Migration and Superdiversity, and Director of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS, University of Birmingham).

“Superdiversity in the Heart of Europe provides a rich insight into the transition of Belgium to a superdiverse society, and what it means for people, policy and practice on the ground. Drawing on international scholarship and theory building around multiculturalism, diversity and cosmopolitanism, the book offers a fresh perspective on the opportunities and challenges brought about by recent unprecedented population changes.”
Susanne Wessendorf, Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Institute for Research into Superdiversity, University of Birmingham, and author of ‘Commonplace Diversity: Social Relations in a Super-Diverse Context’ (Palgrave Macmillan 2014).

“The strength of Dirk Geldof's contribution is that he is able to use the rather abstract concept of super-diversity as a lens to understand the new demographic reality of Belgian cities like Brussels and Antwerp or any other majority minority city in Europe. Our societies will again be changed by the new refugee groups coming into our societies. This book helps us to think through how we can work with that new reality so that our societies will continue to prosper in the future, while providing a safe haven for people who fled from intolerance and violence.”
Maurice Crul, Professor Sociology at the VU University Amsterdam and co-author of ‘Super-diversity: a new perspective on integration’ (VU University Press, 2013).

“How we understand superdiversity and its implications for policy, practice intervention and research is work in progress. This scholarly work significantly advances the field.  In providing a comprehensive illustration of the issues confronting one nation at the heart of Europe it speaks to the transformations affecting all Western cities. The reach, timeliness and accessibility of this eminently readable book suggests it will undoubtedly command a broad readership.”
Charlotte Williams, Professor and Deputy Dean RMIT's Social Work in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, University Melbourne (Australia).

Dirk Geldof, 2016. Superdiversity in the heart of Europe. How migration changes our society. Leuven/Den Haag, Acco, 264 p. ISBN: 9789462924284)