The Hague is a vibrant, multicultural city, in which many ethnic groups co-exists, but how do inhabitants make sense of this? Nationalism, in this research is seen as an inner-looking ideology, regarding a set of ideas about how human beings are politically organized. This research studies how the nation is interpreted in a multicultural setting, through the lens of food consumption. Multi-ethnic diversity, is suggested to have an influence on nationalism, causing people to make sense of reality in different ways. The ideologies of multiculturalism, nationalism, and cosmopolitanism and their overlapping relation, are the main focus studying this relevant, contemporary phenomenon. In this research, the claim is made that restaurants have a national significance and that food symbolizes a part of the national identity. The proposed research question is: “How is the nation used in everyday life to make sense of the food culture in a multicultural, urban setting like The Hague?”. This qualitative research is based on eleven in-depth interviews with inhabitants of The Hague that frequently go out to eat. The sample included three different neighbourhoods based on sociodemographic information and income, which resulted in collecting various perspectives. Together with discourse analysis, this project offers a strong combination of researching everyday nationalism and underlying hierarchical relations. The findings are presented in four discourses of how participants used the nation when talking about eating out, self-identification, food, and restaurants. This study suggests that in a multicultural city like the Hague, the co-presence of different cultures is conducive to the co-presence of nationalism and cosmopolitanism. In general, the multicultural society in the Hague characterizes itself as a cultural hybridization/ongoing mixing state in which inhabitants experience foreign cuisines, not as threat to their national identity but as an addition to their own. However, nationalism is still of relevance when it comes to preference of food. The cultural diversity in The Hague is therefore a superficial, cosmopolitan outlook, in which at first sight cosmopolitanism seems to be the leading ideology, represented by the availability of lots of foreign cuisines/restaurants. Living in a multicultural city like The Hague does allow inhabitants to come in contact with other cultures, however when it comes to national cuisines, the nation is still understood as primordial, as authentic. This preference of authenticity leads to a new understanding of the nation, which is not based on one’s membership of his/her own national collectiveness but based on an “imagined expectation”; non-members culturally attach the national cuisines. To conclude, “the Other” is demanding the experience and availability of “real” ethnic nations, preferably not represented in hybrid forms – known as culinary glocalization.

Additional Metadata
Keywords media, culture, society, Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism, Cultural Diversity, Food Culture, Discourse
Thesis Advisor D.D. Dumitrica, J.R. Ward
Persistent URL
Series Media, Culture & Society
S.V. Gafoer. (2017, October 9). National cuisines in a cosmopolitan city: Exploring multi-ethnic diversity through food culture. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from