“My first experience in the Netherlands was very pleasant, extremely pleasant. I mean, I got my residence permit, refugee status, within four weeks of arrival.” -Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Due to the Netherlands being a very liberal and tolerant country, immigrants from all over the world feel welcomed and at home in Europe’s most densely populated country.
A 2010 survey conducted by Eurostat confirmed that there were over 1,800,000 foreign-born residents living in the Netherlands. This makes up 11.1% of the total population of just over 17 million inhabitants.
The most common ethnic groups that are living in Holland, other than Dutch, are Morrocan, Turkish, Indonesian, German or Polish. More than 82,000 people chose the Netherlands as their country of residence last year in comparison to the 139,000 who left the country.
Whether immigrants are seeking refuge from complex political and economic issues or simply want a better life with superior healthcare, social acceptance and further work opportunities the Netherlands is the place to be!
In recent years, many refugees, immigrants and expats have been able to call Holland their home. To be able to legally reside in the Netherlands, there are many rules and quite a bit of paperwork that need to be filled out. Superprof is here to show aspiring residents a brief history of the Netherlands immigration, the reasons for choosing Holland as your new homeland and the steps that need to be taken in order to acquire Dutch citizenship.
After Surinam became independent, many Surinamese people moved to the Netherlands for a better life. (Source: pixabay)
The Netherlands has a total population of 17.2 million people who are spread across the country’s 12 provinces of Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, North Brabant, North Holland, Overijssel, South Holland, Utrecht and Zeeland.
The most populous of the aforementioned provinces is South Holland with over 3.65 million inhabitants.
The majority of immigrants have found work and have decided to reside in the Western provinces of the country. In cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, located in the west, one in every three inhabitants is non-Western descent.
How did immigration begin in the Netherlands?
After the Second World War, the Netherlands was left in absolute shambles from all the destruction. Even though the Netherlands claimed neutrality at the brink of WWII, German attacks such as The Rotterdam Blitz caused many of the Dutch cities to be in ruins and in dire need of reconstruction, especially Rotterdam.
Directly after WWII, many foreign nations offered much-needed help to reconstruct the cities that had been severely destroyed. The post-war period was a very tough one for the Netherlands since industries were demolished and unemployment was rampant.
During this time there was a shortage of labourers due to the immense projects that needed to be undergone. Therefore, to meet the demands many private companies and even the Dutch government hired inexperienced workers from the Southern parts of Europe such as Spain and Italy. Many of these workers were temporary and went back to their countries of origin after their services were no longer needed, however, some stayed and created a new life for themselves in the tolerant and liberal country of the Netherlands.
After a few years of struggling and the reconstruction was finished, the Netherlands experienced an unprecedented economic boom. This caused many immigrants from the countries of Morocco and Turkey to migrate to the Netherlands as guest workers.
Moroccan and Turkish workers left their families during the 1960s in order to work for less time and earn extra cash to send to their families residing in their countries of origin. After experiencing this prosperity and the great things money can buy, these men had diffculties returning home.
In the 1970s an economic oil crisis occurred and labour migration was halted completely in 1973. Nevertheless, in the following year of 1974, a new law was passed allowing for family reunification. This caused the wives and children of labour workers, mostly from Morocco and Turkey, to be reunited with their husbands who were working in Holland.
Due to the fact that during the Dutch Golden Age, under the Dutch East India Company, many foreign colonies were established, in the 20th century, many people from these Dutch colonies migrated to the Netherlands seeking a better life.
The vast majority of immigrants came from the colonies of Surinam, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) and the Netherlands Antilles.
In recent years after the 1970s, many refugees have sought asylum in the Netherlands due to political unrest and harsh economic conditions in their countries of origin. Refugees have arrived from the countries of Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria.
While many of the reasons for immigration to the Netherlands are predominantly for political or economic reasons, there are quite a few expats living in the Netherlands who were enchanted by its charm on previous trips.
In 2013, UNICEF named Dutch children the happiest in the world. (Source: pixabay)
The Netherlands have welcomed immigrants from a variety of different cultures for centuries. In the Dutch Golden Age, many artists, Dutch writers, Dutch scientists and philosophers from the Netherlands flocked to the Netherlands in order to create their masterpieces in an environment that accepts artistic expression and freedom of speech without judgement.
The characteristics of being tolerant, liberal and accepting are still true today. The Netherlands is a melting pot with people from all over the world choosing this country to immigrate to.
Acceptance and liberal policies may entice some who are from more conservative societies and want to let loose while others from poverty stricken countries may be attracted to the fact that the Netherlands has the 17th largest economy in the world and ranks tenth in GDP per capita.
Whatever an individual may decide, migrating to the Netherlands is not a bad choice and here are some of the best reasons for doing so:
The reasons for relocating to the Netherlands as an expat destination or to find work as an immigrant to experience a better life are varied and valid. Nevertheless, what are the steps to legally reside in Holland and acquire Dutch citizenship? We will now see!
Following the precise instructions of immigration officials can prevent you from omitting an important document that ultimately ends in rejection for citizenship. (Source: pixabay)
In order to obtain Dutch citizenship, there is much paperwork to fill out for visas and applicants need to meet the Dutch government’s elevated standards and requirements.
Many foreigners who have gone to work in the Netherlands may be eligible to apply for Dutch citizenship after residing in the country with relevant documents such as a residence permit for over 5 years and sometimes it may be less if the person has any family ties.
Immigrants also have the option of applying for permanent residence which allows them to stay in Dutch territory indefinitely but they will need to reapply every five years to show that they still meet the requirements. Permanent residency means that foreigners no longer need to possess a work permit.
It is important to note that those who have a permanent residency instead of Dutch citizenship do not have all the civil rights offered to legal Dutch citizens.
You should also be aware that you will have to take a language proficiency exam, which you can prepare for by taking Dutch courses London or in the town you currently reside in.
We will now analyze the two principal paths taken to acquire Dutch citizenship
This pathway is less expensive only costing 179 euros per person but certain requirements need to be met and social situations need to be proven.
This procedure to apply for citizenship is a lot easier to undergo due to the fact that it usually takes three months from start to finish instead of an entire year. To apply, immigrants need to hold a valid residence document and be eligible in one of the following categories:
This procedure costs 840 euros and requires more documents and time than the previously mentioned way.
After all the documents have been submitted and requirements are meant, the naturalization process may take up to a year. As previously, some citizens of other countries applying for Dutch citizenship may have to renounce their current nationality in order to continue with the application process and become eligible to qualify as a Dutch citizen.
This only applies to residents of certain countries due to the fact that some nations make it legally impossible to renounce your nationality and dual citizenship is the only option. Research is required to make an educated decision.
The main documents required to apply for Dutch citizenship and eligibility are a passport, Dutch residence permit, birth certificate, civic integration certification or similar document and marriage certificate if applicable to your social situation.
Obtaining citizenship of the Netherlands or other Dutch territory is extremely worth it for those who are looking for a better life as an overseas working immigrant or retired expat. Living abroad and moving to another country is a rewarding and unique experience.