Dutch language skills a welfare requirement

14th April 2011, Comments 16 comments

The ability to speak the Dutch language should be a prerequisite for receiving welfare. Those who do not speak Dutch must take complete a course immediately or their benefits will be reduced or halted.

The move is part of a package of measures presented Thursday by Minister of Social Affairs Henk Kamp to tighten rules for migrant workers from other European Union member states. 

The language condition for aid will apply to “everyone,” said the minister, including new migrants and those who already reside in the Netherlands.

That knowledge of the Dutch language should be a welfare requirement has been a long-held position of the liberal conservative VVD. 

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

16 Comments To This Article

  • Haha posted:

    on 22nd April 2011, 11:16:13 - Reply

    "Those who do not speak Dutch must - take complete - a course immediately"
    It figures, since they can't get a decent grasp of English like every other nation and don't want to work with others - they rather work in their own circles or simply against everyone else - even though the majority of people living here probably aren't Dutch?! And I assume that for every country a Dutch person travels to they learn the language of that country before they arrive? It does some what make sense but should not be forced upon people, is that not one of the most important reasons most people come to Netherlands... Freedom? Freedom of speech is allowed but only in Dutch?!
  • KikI posted:

    on 22nd April 2011, 07:46:34 - Reply

    If this would be the case, then non-dutch speakers should not be taxed 100%
  • David posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 20:51:38 - Reply

    Zeker, en wat over NL mensen dat alleen een dikke vet dialect als Brabant of Limburgs praten, moeten deze mensen, als hunzelves werkloos vinden, goed ABN nederlands gestudieren of zonder geld hebben??

    Kind of populist, good to learn Dutch if you live here (mines pretty rubbish but I don't work with it), and pretty stupid if you will deny people who have paid alot into the system a bit of a safety net.

    A tax on men with long floppy hair, red or orange trousers, brown shoes and light grey suits would be popular with expats but not the smug political class who all look like that!!!

    Or how about the right to tax a bar €100 if they serve "beer" that is more foam than liquid?

    Think that it's great to poke a bit of fun, both at locals and expats, but not really worth getting heated about. I'm sure if many English speakers had Dutch TV programs with English subtitles since birth that they would speak Dutch pretty well as a rule. It's just harder to learn a language when you begin as an adult, which is not to say don't try.

    Hopefully politicians can do what they need to without penalising hard working people who pay taxes and try to do the right thing.
  • Marley posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 18:23:27 - Reply

    This is about WELFARE, not uitkering. They want to stop people from moving here, not working, not integrating, and going on welfare so their income is more than they would get in Bulgaria or somehwere. Makes sense to me
  • Vader posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 17:15:59 - Reply

    And if I will leave this "kingdom of tolerance" my no language-certified pension will be gone too? Or maybe they're going to invent sort of worldwide certification organization for pensioners?
    I wonder if my Dutch salary, Dutch taxes and Dutch Euros can speak Dutch?
    How easy it is to be a populist...
  • David posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 14:46:43 - Reply

    Hmmm, what next? If you're residing in NL working for a period of time, buy a lottery ticket and win the hoofdprijs you can't claim the money?

    Long live dutch tolerance........ (of a kind)
  • Catherine posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 14:28:30 - Reply

    Great rule! only there should be a check box next to your income tax that says:
    1-Speak Dutch: pays 100% full tax and gets 100% benefits
    2- Knowledge migrant that came because no Dutch citizen had the qualifications you had, works for an International company where all communication is in English, where Dutch classes are not paid for by the employer as it is judged useless (yes, that is what I was told by mu Dutch HR manager) and therefore does not speak Dutch: Get a tax break but don't expect any welfare.

    If that WAS the case Mr.Kamp it surely encouraged you because you know that without expat your country would not be where it is now so please give us all benefits we deserve instead of shameless taking them away to spend into your socialist system encouraging people in this country to get less and less educated...
    It is a shame!
  • Alfredas posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 14:19:16 - Reply

    Great policy...Net effect: all bums are fluent in Dutch. All more competitive people left for Belgium.
  • John posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 13:55:43 - Reply

    @Jaye. Jou analogie klopt idd. Onvoldoende beheersing over de Nederlandse taal = Piraat. Briljant!
  • Claire posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 13:53:00 - Reply

    This is a good idea. There is no reason why anyone living in this country should not make the effort to speak the language. At the very LEAST it is polite. No English speaking country thinks it is acceptable for people to live in their country and not speak English! There is absolutely no difference here. 'Expats' do think they are rather special don't they!
  • John Doe posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 13:22:25 - Reply

    I sympathise with all non Dutch speakers who are currently
    paying (a lot of) tax: with this new measure they should get
    a hefty tax discount as they will be systematically excluded
    from enjoying the benefits for which the taxes are charged.

    Good idea!

  • Lili posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 12:49:22 - Reply

    With this measure, hopefully I won’t be paying 1/3 of my monthly salary for the “burnout” Dutch speakers and to the “helpful” Dutch administrators!
  • Matt posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 12:12:36 - Reply

    Despite working in NL for 5 years and not speaking any Dutch, I think this is a good idea. Why should I force government workers to speak English when they are helping me to live. If I have a problem with it, I should go back home.
  • Jaye posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 11:59:34 - Reply

    Geweldig idee. Als je immigreert moet je je aanpassen (tenminste op het niveau van taal) anders ben je maar net als een piraat die eignelijk niet in zijn nieuwe land wil zijn.
  • Andrew Meechan posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 11:41:00 - Reply

    sounds like another Dutch racist idea or perhaps i won't have to pay any Dutch tax if i'm counted out of their welfare system !
  • John posted:

    on 20th April 2011, 11:31:47 - Reply

    Brilliant idea. This measure will improve life in general for everybody. More jobs will be created, the cost of living will come down and living standards and social harmony will be improved. The guy is a genius.