Moroccans happier in Antwerp than Liege
6 February 2007
BRUSSELS – French is an important language in Morocco and the Moroccan culture has more ties to the Francophone one than the Dutch-speaking one. So it would make sense for Moroccans to feel more at home in French-speaking cities than Dutch-speaking ones.
That is what researcher Hilda Lubbers and professor Jan Pieter van Oudenhoven, both affiliated with the University of Groningen, thought. But that turned out not to be the case at all.
Lubbers interviewed some 300 Moroccans (average age of 31) living in Brussels, Liege, Antwerp and Rotterdam. Moroccans in Antwerp and Rotterdam rated their happiness as 7.4 out of 10. The Moroccans in Brussels gave their level of happiness a 6.4 out of 10, and those in Liege a 6.2 out of ten.
“We really thought the opposite would be true,” Van Oudenhoven said.
Van Oudenhoven said that Moroccans living in a city like Antwerp or Rotterdam, where the native culture is much different from their own, are eager to integrate but not necessarily assimilate. They think contact with the native population is very important, but still feel secure maintaining their own identity and culture. As a result they are happier.
“The Moroccans in Brussels and Liege do want to assimilate however. They want to bend over backwards to become the same as the rest of the community and that leads to frustration, because they will never become real Belgians,” according to Van Oudenhoven.
The researchers said the different immigration policies and models of integration might play a role as well. They pointed out that the French model is much more geared towards assimilation, while cities like Antwerp and Rotterdam maintain the northwestern-European model of multiculturalism.
[Copyright Expatica 2007]
Subject: Belgian news