Indian Diamond Dealers in Antwerp

Patterns, Determinants, and Regional Implications of Economically Determined Transmigration

  • Sebastian Henn


The paper aims at linking the concepts of transnational communities and regional clusters. Using the example of the Antwerp diamond district, it will be shown that its recent structural change can mainly be attributed to the influx of a transnational community, namely Jaina families from Western India. Based on the analysis of guided interviews, immigration files and secondary data, the migration patterns will be considered as an outcome of both economic growth in the transmigrants’ home region and the social structure of the community itself. Furthermore, it will be shown that the Indians contributed to closures of incumbent firms, a modification of local specialization patterns as well as to changes of the local institutional framework in the destination area.