Spain’s Slow Rehabilitation

by Pia Miller-Aichholz & Sophie Weresch

The unemployment rate in Spain is down to 18,91% after some almost ten tough years following the economic crisis and a peak of 26,1% in 2013. The situation is improving, but there are many factors of considerable impact involved.

Lola Martínez works in an unemployment office of Argüelles in Madrid. She is among the lucky who have an indefinite term contract. Most of her colleagues are not that fortunate. They have contracts for a few months. They never know if and how many times their fixed-term contracts will be renewed. “Young people nowadays are used to this”, says Lola Martínez, who is now in her fifties. When she started to work, it was normal to have an indefinite term contract.

Oficina de EmpleoOficina de Empleo in Argüelles, Madrid / Photo: Sophie Weresch

Continue reading “Spain’s Slow Rehabilitation”

Chueca, where is your pride?

By Dorri Mang and Marieke Scherjon

Chueca is a flourishing city developed by the gay community that is attracting tourists to Madrid from all over the globe. But gentrification is playing its part. While World Pride 2017 is in Madrid, will the neighborhood of Chueca still be able to boast of housing the community that built it?

What is Pride?
Since 2005 when gay marriage was legalized in Spain, the gay community developed fast, creating a place that was welcoming to people from all different backgrounds and gender identities. Because it developed so quickly, Spain was the home to Europe’s first all inclusive gay celebration: Euro Pride, which succeeded in placing Madrid on the map as the capital of Europe’s LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, intersex, and queer) community. This year the world has decided to gather in Madrid for World Pride 2017. The fact that Madrid has become the destination for World Pride this year in June can largely be contributed to a part of the city which is bursting in popularity: Chueca.

Continue reading “Chueca, where is your pride?”

Madrid: a melting pot of Spanish and Latin Americans


By Rosalie Neuvel

The musician in the metro, the waiters at the restaurant you eat, the cleaners at the OK hostel and little shops were you can buy your Latin American stuff. Everywhere you walk in Madrid you can recognize migrants from Latin America.

There are three reasons why it is easier for migrants from Latin America to come to Spain. Since the mid-Nineties the Spanish economy grew rapidly, until the economic crisis of 2008. Next to that there was the development of the country’s migration policy, where Spain and Latin American countries made agreements.  There is also a better acceptance of the Latin Americans coming to Spain, regarding surveys. This has to do with the historical bonds and the greater cultural linguistic and religious similarities.

Continue reading “Madrid: a melting pot of Spanish and Latin Americans”

La re-Movida Madrileña

By Sam Jaspers

In 1975, after the death of Spanish leader Francisco Franco, an era of dictatorship came to an end. It gave birth to La Movida Madrileña (the Madrilenian scene), a countercultural movement of theatre, music, art and partying, that mainly took place in Madrid. During the economic crisis this movement seemed to ebb away, but now it is time for the so-called re-Movida Madrileña – and Madrileños are dancing around the city again.

Born in Madrid, the Movida Madrileña was a cultural wave that later found was adopted by other Spanish cities, such as Barcelona, Bilbao and Vigo. The movement was characterized by freedom of expression, transgression of the taboos obeyed by the Franco regime and a new spirit in the streets. Furthermore, the use of recreational drugs and the pasota dialect have their roots in the movement. La Movida Madrileña restored the economy and succeeded in emerging a new Spanish identity after years of dictatorship.

Continue reading “La re-Movida Madrileña”

A church in a gay area: how does that work?

By Rosalie Neuvel

flag gay

Free breakfast for homeless people, a solidarity machine for food to contribute to the poor, Grandparents’ Day, helping kids back to school and welcoming gays and transsexuals; these are just some examples of the help provided by the San Ánton church in Chueca. The arrival of the liberal Pope Franciscus in Rome has opened up this Catholic church in Madrid in several ways.

After the death of the last Pope, a more liberal pope, Francis was chosen. This made it possible to widen the opportunities for churches. Right after Francis was chosen, San Ánton, a church in the main street of Chueca opened. San Ánton is a 24-hour church and is welcoming everyone, a big change compared to the days of Franco. In those days homosexuality was forbidden, but now it is no coincidence that this liberal church is situated in Chueca. Madrid´s famous neighborhood Chueca is the best known gay area of the city; here you can find hundreds of gay- oriented businesses, including bars, restaurants and designer shops.

Continue reading “A church in a gay area: how does that work?”

“They want to make us afraid of the future”

By Kristina Blockx

Despite of high unemployment rates among the youth in Spain, not everyone is worried. Alberto Mineral thinks that the youth should be more optimistic

“It is constantly said in the news and everywhere that there is no work and no jobs in Spain. It’s like they want to make us afraid of the future,” says Alberto Mineral. He is 21 years old and is studying Fine Arts at the Rey Juan University in Fuenlabrada, a smaller city outside Madrid.

At the moment more than four out of ten people under the age of 25 are without a job in Spain. Despite of the statistics and what the media are saying, Alberto is not worried about the employment rates in his home country.

Continue reading ““They want to make us afraid of the future””

Mind the balloon


By: Dorri Mang and Marieke Scherjon

Balloons for children seem rather innocent, but in Madrid they are not allowed in the subway since one metallic balloon broke down the complete underground system.

After walking down several flights of stairs to line 6 in the city center of Madrid, you may be shocked to see quite a few signs, which look large, intimidating and even threatening, and leading us to believe that there is something funny going on in Madrid. Confusing to visitors, a norm to residents, and a stark reminder of a childish mistake for a certain little Madrileño. That’s right. Whenever entering the subway stations, the first thing that welcomes you is a cacophony of large, daunting stop signs, telling you to not bring … guns? bombs? alcohol? Nope. Balloons.

Continue reading “Mind the balloon”

Spain’s ’Lost Generation’ still looking for jobs

By: Kristina Blockx

The wounds are starting to heal after the financial crisis hit Spain at full strength in 2008. In the meantime four out of ten young people are still unemployed and struggling to enter the labour market. The unqualified youngsters are being left behind.

 The youth in Spain is still struggling with the after-effects of the financial crisis of 2008. Even though the Spanish government recently announced that the unemployment rate for the first time in seven years has dropped below 20 percent, the labour market is still widely affected. Spain has the second highest unemployment rate in the European Union right after Greece. Among people under the age of 25 it is as high as 43,6 percent.

Continue reading “Spain’s ’Lost Generation’ still looking for jobs”

Spanish economic crisis does not kill social life of Madrileños

By Sam Jaspers

Due to the collapse of a decade-long property bubble, an economic crisis hit Spain in 2008. Despite the high unemployment rates in Madrid, Madrileños still spend a lot of their free time in restaurants and bars. The streets are crowded every night, and to every restaurant and bar you go, you have to look for a free spot.

The Spanish crisis – also known as the Great Recession in Spain, began during the world financial crisis of 2007-2008. Today, Spaniards still carry the burden of this great depression. Unemployment rates are higher than ever – around 24 percent of the Spanish people cannot find a job. Furthermore, the taxes were raised from eight to twenty-one percent in 2012. This major increase has cramped consumption drastically. Interestingly enough, in Madrid it does not seem to have great influence on the social life in the city. Continue reading “Spanish economic crisis does not kill social life of Madrileños”