Tougher Dutch integration rules

17th June 2011, Comments 23 comments

The government says that immigrants to the Netherlands who are required to pass integration tests will in future have to do this within three years of their arrival or lose their residency rights.

Asylum seekers who fail to get through the tests within the period will be allowed to remain but will face fines.

The move is based on the government programme which was agreed during the formation of the rightwing coalition. The document states that migrants and asylum seekers have to take responsibility for their own integration and pay the costs of the process themselves. If they cannot afford this, they will be able to borrow the money.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

23 Comments To This Article

  • Cris posted:

    on 13th July 2011, 21:03:50 - Reply

    Oh bugger off. If you go to Sweden you can't move a finger without learning their language. I'm not sure if it's state given or you have to pay for it yourself.

    Phil is completely right in what he is saying.

    Since when is a bad thing to know a second or third language? Since when is it a bad thing to enroll in a programme which teaches you over things that might come in useful to you?

    One thing is for sure - you have successfully managed to integrate yourself in the Dutch society without knowing - by nagging.

    Why learning the local language and social, political and cultural aspects of it is segregation and discrimination - for the life of me i don't understand....

    Snap out people...
  • Phil posted:

    on 29th June 2011, 12:23:34 - Reply

    What’s wrong with this? It’s only a matter of courtesy to speak the language of the country you live in and learn their culture. I’m British and have lived here for 11 years and have refused to speak English since day one. There are far too many expats who have lived here for more than 10 years and can only say ‘dank u wel’. Does this show any respect? Fairplay to the Dutch government for wanting to try and preserve the Dutch language and culture.
  • Lorraine posted:

    on 28th June 2011, 09:12:04 - Reply

    Example - every immigrant who went to the USA and needed to be "naturalized" had/has to take a naturalization test. In the Netherlands and perhaps in other places in Europe (I don't know), the government has introduced considerable classes of immigrants. If you are from an EU country, you can live in the Netherlands forever without learning the language or have any knowledge of its culture, literature, etc. If you are not from the EU however, you must go through a Dutch language test with bits and pieces of culture thrown into the questioning - this test seems to be targeting specific groups of people - unfairly. I would think that one standard would apply for all. Expats who are here for the short term really do not need to learn the language since their companies have usually transferred them here for X amount of time. For us foreigners and immigrants, I would assume that most of us do not just want to take from our host country, but also give back. Both government and foreigners/immigrants have become so focussed on "don't you speak Dutch already" - that they have lost the core of the good stuff, i.e. what immigrants have to offer and, in turn, what the Netherlands has to offer. I see this as a greater problem in Europe where in any of the EU countries, there is ultimately no bond between immigrant and country, it will lead to living in an outer shell with no real knowledge or affinity with where we are living - people in transit only. We all opted to come here for a reason, and very likely the rules concerning foreigners in our own countries are not that different.
  • Mr P. posted:

    on 24th June 2011, 16:31:02 - Reply

    Does this rule apply to EVERY immigrant? as in, also to knowledge migrants with the 30% rule applied and such? As I re-read the article, when it says:

    "immigrants to the Netherlands WHO ARE REQUIRED TO PASS integration tests will in future have to do this within three years of their arrival"

    So, I understand that if you didn't have to in the first place, it wouldn't apply. But I would like to know the source of the info provided in the article, as I cannot find further information on the subject.

    Thanks in advance.
  • timisoru posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 23:07:07 - Reply

    I don't know where you people live, but in Amsterdam nobody cares about these silly moronic rules. I work and get paid under the table and could not care less what government wants.
  • Rick Pearson posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 19:32:20 - Reply

    MY FULL COMMENTS. The Dutch Government is no different to the majority of governments EXCEPT that it is not in fear of the political correct brigade and not frightened to say what it thinks. By being so open, the Dutch Gov. gives people the opportunity to prepare themselves for any challenges. Would people prefer that laws are passed quietly and immigrants are removed equally as quietly? I left the UK as I was unhappy at the direction the country was heading under Gordon Brown and I certainly did not want my 5 year old daughter entering the British Education system. Love them or hate them, at least you know where you are with the Dutch Gov.
  • Rick Pearson posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 19:08:07 - Reply

    Does anyone think that the Dutch government is any different to all the other governments in core values
  • Deb posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 19:08:01 - Reply

    Hope my husband and I will be ok. We are moving to Holland to take over the family business. Husband is Dutch I'm American. We have Jobs and a place to live so I think this is good.
  • Abigail posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 16:08:39 - Reply

    I should add - I agree completely with Mathew (my husband is an Aussie, btw). Holland is not exactly a desirable country, and they need to get over their arrogant belief that it is. it's not. It's a place you go because you have to, not because you want to. The Dutch are not, despite their own beliefs, the be-all and end-all; they've produced virtually nothing of significance in 100 years -- and in some cases, ever (quick: name an important Dutch composer. Quick: name a world-renowned Dutch author. Quick: name a Nobel Prize winning Dutchman.)

    The irony of all this is that these inburgering laws were in part instituted to protect Muslim Dutch women from honor killings and similar barbaric practices. And which immigrant group is responsible for the majority of honor killings in the Netherlands? No, not the Canadians and Americans and Japanese: it's the Turks, which I admit pains me to say as I actually feel a strong kinship with *URBAN* Turkish culture. But here's the kicker: Turkish immigrants no longer have to enroll in/follow Dutch inburgering procedures, thanks to a lawsuit against the government. So tell me what the hell the point is of any of this?

    Increasingly, I think it more than worthwhile to abandon the Dutch to their own pathetic fate. Having written a book about the Dutch, lived in the Netherlands for 20 years, and examined every aspect of "Dutchness" in my recent book, I can honestly conclude: it's their own butts they're falling on, and soon.
  • Lisa Williams posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 16:04:44 - Reply

    Yes, John Blutarski, I'd like to hear from you about your case as my husband is in the same situation. You can email privately at if you prefer. Thank you.
  • Rick Pearson posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 15:26:46 - Reply

    I am an Englishman living with my Dutch wife and our daughter near Amersfoort. I have delivered to my e-mail in-box between 5-9 financial reports each day of the week,. These reports have been giving tentative warnings for 12 months of a potential collapse of the Euro currency and the EU - NOW they are screaming (every day) that the Euro and EU will fall before the end of this year!!! They have no doubts, the party is over. Will this lead to an end of the arrangement for EU residents protected status I wonder and an increase to integration rules for non Dutch residents ?
  • Mathew posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 14:19:23 - Reply

    As an Aussie who moved over here 4 years ago for a Dutch girl, all i can say is if I fail the Inburgering exam next year (Jan) i'm happy to pay the fine, if they want to kick me out, i'll be more then happy to go back to oz.. the weather is so much better. I work in the head office for one of the largest companies in the Netherlands.. (and have always been employed while i have been here) the corporate language is english and everyone speak english, for the people who dont speak english (or pretend they dont) i know enough Dutch to get by, to kick me out as an undesirable would surely be counter productive.. but I guess Netherlands is a strange old place. I guess this is what happens when you start painting people with the same brush.
  • Henk posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 14:02:35 - Reply

    I have a similar situation to John Blutarski and continue to be harassed and fined by the Inburgering Mafia. I would appreciate if he could contact me at as I would like to learn more about the action he pursued and his lawyer's contact details. I have EU resident permit, speak Dutch, took courses 11 years ago, have major eye problem making courses impossible to take anyway, all of which they ignore.
  • Jan posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 14:01:02 - Reply

  • Piet posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 13:55:42 - Reply

    Men should not forget that there is nothing permanent. Today some people think they are rich and that they can humiliate troubled immigrants anyhow. A time will come, the prophets say, when these 'masters' will also beg for bread and mercy from countries of these victims. The BIBLE mentions this. May God have mercey on these men and their families who think they will forever be as they are.
  • Abigail posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 12:56:09 - Reply

    You all seem to be forgetting that this is not just about minorities. It means that people from any non-European country will have to face this requirement: Americans, Australians, South Africans, Canadians - people who, like the Dutch, are white, but who, unlike the Dutch, speak the language largely considered the international tongue -- the one that even Dutch universities use. Yes, even those who freed the dutch from Nazi rule, even those who come from democratic, first-world nations, will be forced to take this outrageously idiotic exam in order to fill the coffers of the Dutch government so that it can continue to pay single Dutch mothers too damn lazy to work a higher income than many of us earn with full-time jobs. Rita is exactly right; and the result of all this will be a huge intellectual gap in the Netherlands, where no scientist, no researcher, no artist, no writer, no intellectual or expert of any kind, will want to come to live. (Not that most of us want to be there anymore anyway.) They've just signed the contract for their own demise.
  • Rita posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 12:42:53 - Reply

    Yes, I have been there and am seeing it all. Recently, I was told by a Dutch IT organisation that Dutch was their voertal and I could not be taken into consideration since I was not a 'native speaker'. And that in IT, guys, where hardly any ERP system other than the now antiquated BAAN is Dutch.
    I got my Staatexamen NT2 programma 2 for hoogopgeleiden (all four sections - listening, reading, writing and speaking) in one year of being in Holland. The inburgering certificate trailed far behind (bureaucratic procedure)! So what good is this inburgering en leertraject anyway!! I am neither a 'fortune seeker' nor a political refugee but moved here being married to a white Dutch person (of pure Dutch (Calvinist) origin, to give a black and white picture). And I am seeing these discriminatory practices becoming overt and rampant over the years. By the way, I am not a native English Speaker either so should I say goodbye to my career ;-)
  • matt posted:

    on 22nd June 2011, 12:23:27 - Reply

    I think this is the natural response to the "reportedly" huge influx of economic imigrants to western Europe.
    It may be heavy handed zenophobic and arbritrary but as one poster commented that is what a large portion of voters voted for.
    The buck stops with the voters in a democracy.
  • Jack posted:

    on 18th June 2011, 20:19:21 - Reply

    Racism, extremism and fascism will not only affect the opposite group but it will also affect them directly or indirectly. They are doing all this on the name of immigration and muslim while practically all the debris fall on the heads of the native dutch as well. Before it is too late, the native must think about their emotional blackmailing and its consequences for them. The immigrants always have an option but not the native people. On the name of austerity, the government took measures, which will result in a horrific situation for them. The government is following the instruction of Bilderberg group and do not give a shit to the suffering of its own people or to the people of this country.... wake up...
  • Sam posted:

    on 18th June 2011, 17:05:25 - Reply

    To this government the meaning of integration is to have everyone thinking like them; to us it means segregation! My Dutch children were forced to pray in school contrary to their belief and they were harmed mentally and physically. My two daughters have permanent health problems due to the abuse. I was unable to file any case in Dutch courts. The government made our lives a living hell before and after I filed a case against the Netherlands at the European Court of Human Rights. To save our children and their future they left to another country as refugees. The Netherlands under the control of this racist and fascist government will collapse. People will hear soon about this case.

  • John Blutarski posted:

    on 18th June 2011, 09:35:56 - Reply

    While the first poster is a bit over the top, you didn't disagree with his/her main point. (What's a name like Bon anyway?)

    So you're saying that it's perfectly OK to arbitarily yank the residency rights of people who are otherwise abiding by the law, working and doing no harm just by saying that they have to pass an exam? What next? Seems like the whole idea of the VVD and its political minions is to reduce rights and to drive people out.

    Is this kind of thing even possible under EU law? I have the EU permanent residency permit, which means that the govt can't say a thing to me. However, that didn't stop the city hall from trying to stuff me into one of their stupid classes. So, I got a lawyer and he had to sort things out. (The city hall lost.) I can just imagine how much more this would have cost if this law had been in place.

    And with this kind of "values" in Dutch political life, why would I care about a class that's supposed to teach me about them and make me agree with them? (NOT!) BTW- the current coalition is a minority one, which means that they weren't given a mandate by the electorate to do this kind of thing.
  • Anton Nieuwenhuizen posted:

    on 18th June 2011, 05:54:05 - Reply

    Yo Bon,

    They're not talking about people who are 'passing by', but people who came to Holland for economic reasons. Political refugees are always welcome, but not the 'fortune' seekers who move to Holland, then can't find a job and move to criminal circuit and/or hold up their hand to get social welfare checques pushed into them...

    There's always two sides to a story, and to just immediately compare this to nazi germany is just showing how ignorant you are.

    Don't forget, this gouvernment was chosen in a fully democratic process. Polls show, that if there were elections today, this gouvernment would come out even stronger...

    I guess you're not against democracy, unless it results in things you don't like...:)
  • Bon Jenkins posted:

    on 17th June 2011, 23:02:53 - Reply

    What a cheery translation of a government press release which could lead to the "exiling" of tens of thousands of residents who pay tax, have jobs, own property and are otherwise law-abiding. Western Europe hasn't seen this kind of "legal" cleansing since Germany in the 1930s. The government can be happy that they've put forward laws which have marginalised and ghettoised parts of the population to the point where there are first (white pure blood native, Dutch), second (ethnic, Dutch), and third (everyone else) class people. Bravo, well done.

    Now when you're in my country, speak my language, otherwise, I'm going to tell you to speak my language.