“This street sign is crooked,” notes Henny Koot, then stoops down to straighten it.
We are in Spoorwijk, a neighbourhood in The Hague. “Spoorwijk is a very special neighbourhood. It’s a green space where children can play safely in the playgrounds, where entrepreneurs from different cultures have set up shop. People care about each other,” explains Koot, who chairs a local community organisation. Spoorwijk may be a caring neighbourhood, but it’s part of Laak, The Hague’s smallest district – as well as one of its poorest and most diverse. The average annual income of its 4,340 residents is €16,300 (£14,225) – about €1,350 (£1,180) a month. In 2017, 67.3% of the inhabitants of Spoorwijk were of non-Dutch background – the majority from Surinam, but also from Turkey and Morocco.