The Dutch are becoming more diverse: One in five have at least one foreign parent
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The Dutch are becoming more diverse: One in five have at least one foreign parent

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – One in five Dutch people have at least one parent who was born abroad, the government’s academic council for government policy WRR said on Tuesday.

In 1972, 9.2% of the population had at least one foreign-born parent but that had risen to 22.1% by 2016, the WRR said. Of them, just under half have European or ‘Anglo Saxon’ roots.

And while migrants used to come from a few countries – namely Turkey, Morocco, Suriname and the Antilles – by last year there were people from 223 countries living in the Netherlands.

‘The increasing diversity is leading to new social challenges, for example, in the field of social cohesion,’ the WRR said. There are wide regional differences, reflecting on migration patterns.

In the staunchly Protestant fishing community of Urk there are barely any people with a recent migrant background, but in farming communities there are high proportions of people with Polish and Bulgarian origins, the WRR pointed out.

In cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, however, a majority of population have recent roots abroad, and their populations reflect a huge range of different countries.

Immigration stop

Even if there was an immediate halt to immigration, the Dutch population would continue to diversify, due to births and deaths, the WRR points out. This, the organisation says, has consequences for government policy.

Policy taking an approach to ‘classic’ migrant groups will less effective in ‘this new reality’ the organisation said. Officials should be more aware of the differences in the cultural make-up and target services and facilities accordingly, the WRR said.

In addition, councils should work to stimulate improved contacts between different population groups. (DutchNews)

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