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Ahmed Aboutaleb

Ahmed Aboutaleb
Ahmed Aboutaleb

(Morocco, 1961) is the Mayor of Rotterdam and a great lover of Arabic poetry. He grew up in Morocco's Rif Mountains and came to the Netherlands at age fifteen. Since the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004, Aboutaleb has become known as a politician who brings people together but also tells it like it is. Aboutaleb has translated the poetry of Adonis, and recited several of these poems in Arabic and Dutch at Rotterdam's 2010 Poetry International. For History Month in October 2015 he penned the essay "Dream & Deed," about three Jewish families who remained hidden behind the organ of Rotterdam's Breeplein Church for almost three years during the war. According to Aboutaleb, this story of "Rotterdam's Anne Frank house" has clear links with the refugee crisis currently playing out across Europe.


Archive available for: Ahmed Aboutaleb

  • Winternachten 2016 – Friday Night Unlimited

    Stars of Arabic Literature

    Adonis, from Syria, is considered the most important contemporary Arabic poet. His work has finally been translated into Dutch. Tonight Adonis receives the first copy of his poetry collection Wat blijft (What Remains) from Rotterdam's Mayor Aboutaleb, an avowed fan. After that, Egypt's Alaa al Aswany—famous for The Yacoubian Building, his taboo-busting novel that stirred up the Arab world—also presents new work in translation: The Automobile Club of Cairo. In English