Dutch minister wants immigrants to integrate better

18th November 2009, Comments 14 comments

Integration Minister Eberhard van der Laan says immigrants should have the desire to contribute to the country as there is a limit to how much the Dutch society can support.

The Hague – Dutch Integration Minister Eberhard van der Laan has launched a fresh demand to increase the demands made on immigrants in a letter addressed to the lower house in The Hague.

In his letter, the minister said immigrants should have the desire to participate in society and speak the language. They are also morally obliged to adapt as they have opted to stay in the Netherlands.

This includes participating in integration courses, which immigrants should see as a welcome gift from the Dutch society.

Van der Laan told parliament he would like to say to immigrants: "If you're coming over here, it's up to you to make your future into a success."

The integration minister said there is also a limit of immigrants that the Dutch society can support.

“I've seen schools where 98 percent of the pupils are of immigrant origin. Teachers there are looking exhausted. We have to support those teachers, family doctors and policemen, because they won't sustain this forever."

Throughout his letter, Van der Laan avoided the commonly used terminology of "native" and "non-native" citizens. Instead, he referred the non-native Dutch as "new Netherlanders".

According to the minister, the common used terminology emphasises someone's origins, while "new Netherlanders" better expresses that people belong here.

Recent figures quoted by the minister show that immigrant integration in society is slowly improving. Over the past 10 years, the number of people of employed immigrant has increased by 10 percent while the number of non-native or "new-Dutch" entrepreneurs has risen by 40 percent.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

14 Comments To This Article

  • ken.b posted:

    on 25th November 2009, 14:47:18 - Reply

    This reminds me of that horrible advert with all those foreign people (which I assume would refer to myself) jumping around making animal noises at the Dutch in an effort to be understood. Downright insulting.
    As far as I am concerned, as a foreigner in an international company, I generate a large amount of revenue for the Dutch government in terms of tax and total spend. Please do not confuse me with an immigrant who hopped over the border in attempt for a better life, or flips burgers for a living, or marries his cousin to get a citizenship here. I may have moved to Holland, but as far as I see it, the Dutch government gets more benefits from me than I do from it.
    I strongly resent the implication that I need to be localised to suit someone else’s agenda. I strongly resent the fact that my partner battles to find a job with his university qualification versus someone with a high school equivalent and nothing further. This is a global community, not a village and we need to adjust our ideas and our tolerance (or lack thereof) accordingly. There is nothing wrong with preserving the language and the culture, but the stone-aged attitude from the minister needs a rapid revamp. Focus on education and development – otherwise the intellectual talent that highly-skilled workers bring in will soon vanish faster than the Dutch summer. I believe the esteemed minister needs to focus his efforts (and his obvious prejudice) on the group that he is actually attempting to target. Or better yet, since he wants me to practise my Dutch - "hij moet zijn bek houden"
  • Giulia posted:

    on 23rd November 2009, 16:22:31 - Reply

    foreigners are a cost for the Dutch society?
    1)all the foreigners I know live in expensive houses in the vrij huur sector(I was able to get a house from the woningbouwvereniging just because I accepted one that Dutch people didn't want because it was too expensive :p)
    2) the foreigners spend a lot more on clothes, cars and other consumers goods,
    3)if you are not from EU and you want to go to a Dutch university you have to pay 10k euro per year (the fee of a private one)
    4) if you are from EU you pay a private healthcare insurance but you keep on using the healthcare system of your country of origin with the insurance of your old country because the level of service provided here is like the one of a third world country
    5) if you are a foreigner you don't get 1000 euro per month to stay at home sitting on your ass just because you don't find your ideal job but a)you find a job that is not your level (difficult, since it's impossible to make Dutch recruiters understand the fact that people to to work not for fun because they are bored between one living on welfare period and the other but to have money) b) you import savings and capital from abroad to maintain yourself until you don't get bored of all of this (I'm just a poor student so I think about going back, but maybe Paris Hilton would be able to stay in NL for life XD)
    6) if you are a foreigner you have a child only when you are economically settled and you would be able to maintain it also without begging welfare from the state, and usually you know how to use a condom :p not like the Dutch people who make 5 children because anyways they get money from the state.

    Well: put all my observations: 1) in a Keynes'style aggregate demand equation (the basic form is Y=C I that means that the wealth of a country increases with CONSUMPTION and investment (all the foreign companies who bring expats here))and see how much does the presence of foreigners helps Dutch economy
    2) in the balance sheet of the Dutch state ( all these foreigners who pay taxes and don't get welfare back)

    3) 1 1=2 Eliminate what in your opinion are the "kosten van allochtonen" and you will find yourself with an aggregate demand equation where
    I (investements)= cows tulips cheese
    C (consumption)= => 0 beacuse everybody wants to save money, buys second hand clothes and lives in social housing
    If you add the state presence you will see nobody paying taxes (if everybody sits on his ass living on welfare instead of working...where do you take the taxes? :S ) but a huge expense in welfare state.
    ???????????? WTF????? EPIC FAIL!!!!!

    These people are not even able to make 1 1=2. I propose myself to offer private classes of basic maths and basic macroeconomics to the guys who talked about the kosten van allochtonen LOL
  • Wolfhoundcop posted:

    on 22nd November 2009, 17:35:04 - Reply

    This is the kicker:
    "Integration Minister Eberhard van der Laan says immigrants should have the desire to contribute to the country as there is a limit to how much the Dutch society can support."

    Helllooooooooo, I, as others here are NOT a burden on the government.
    Some of us (me) do jobs that the Dutch thumb their noses at. I am happy with my work, but this minister is out of touch with the working people that have immigrated here. Gee, maybe look at the people that can't provide proof of work and contributing to the society.
  • Wolfhoundcop posted:

    on 22nd November 2009, 17:29:44 - Reply

    The Dutch need to learn to deal with the problem people straight on. Period.
    This BS of they would be discriminating is pure BS. It's an excuse.
    We all know their problem areas, it's no big secret here in Holland. But I find it really dim, that they include everyone else they DON'T have a problem with. They are in essence insulting us folks that have lived and worked side by side the normal Dutch citizen (without a problem). When are these dimwits going to wake-up? From what I see here now there are bad vibes galore. Maybe EXPATICA needs to tell these dimwits to read the responses here. And while I'm on the subject what about the Dutch that can't even cope with their own language, hell I know more than some of them...ha ha They don't want to hear that, but they just did.
    Make new laws, fine, that's life. But for crying out loud, grandfather them. The costs that these dimwits are costing both the Dutch and me (as a taxpayer) are inexcusable.
  • Giulia posted:

    on 19th November 2009, 23:45:25 - Reply

    Actually I think they will prefer privatizing totally the pension system :D but after: who is going to invest in pension funds if there are no people anymore? :p In any case Dutch people are convinced that the country is overcrowded. It's a very common belief among my Dutch friends. This is due also to the difficulties they find in obtaining a room/apartment in Amsterdam, but they don't consider that there are regions in the Netherlands like Drenthe that are almost desert ad where the houses are terribly cheap and if they don't get a house in Amsterdam is only because they want only cheap houses. Start renting in the vrij huur sector or even in the most expensive part of the sociale huur sector and see how many houses you start to find!!!! :p
    About the integration in the Dutch culture it would not be a problem for me for many aspects. I am not from a totally different culture, and I strongly reject many aspects of my original culture that make the big differences with the Dutch culture (or otherwise I would have stayed home with my parents instead of coming here :p ). The only thing I ask is to start working in another sector different from mine instead of doing nothing and living on welfare!!!! (this is the only thing that I strongly prefer of my culture: the fact that people prefer doing a job that is not the one of their dreams or the one for which they studied rather than living on welfare or on their parents'money (well...true that there is less welfare state in my country, but in any case in my culture living on welfare is considered something for losers, so even if there was I don't think people would live on welfare unless they find the job of their dreams).
  • Matt posted:

    on 19th November 2009, 17:32:44 - Reply

    Above posters got it right.
    The simple problem is that the Neths needs immigrants (or a huge increase in birth rate) if it is to survive the next 50 years and cover all the pensions. The Neths also, strangely, limits the number of people who can go to med school, among other things. This adds up to mean that the Neths needs, desperately needs, immigrants!
    However, immigrants are also treated poorly. They are told that they must conform, not just to the law mind you, but to how Dutch people want them to think and act. (Of course we all know that not all Dutch people think and act the way the government says they do!) The Neths also resists strongly the possibility of providing anything in English to a much greater degree than, say, Norway. The Neths also resists opening up to the rest of the world, e.g. foreign products and services are not available anywhere near the way they are in, for example, France.
    These factors, plus "integration" courses, put off immigrants and immigrants, by their nature, have other countries they could go to just as easily! My experience is that they all want to go to in order of preference #1 the US, #2 the UK, and #3 other places in the EU or Canada/Australia/NZ, including the Neths. The Neths will eventually have to accept the fact that they need these people badly and that they must change their thinking to one of attracting people not tolerating them.
  • Giulia posted:

    on 19th November 2009, 17:17:19 - Reply

    what? is the integration exam only at A2 level?!?!?! :LOL: ...I already have a A2 level certificate. But my level of Dutch is shit!! LOL Unfortunately I don't think that I'll have time to take the NT2 because I am leaving soon because I want to start working and here with an A2 level of Dutch it's impossible to find a job (your level of English, your Master's degree and the knowlede of other European languages don't matter...only Dutch is important!). Anyways I think that if you already have the NT2 you don't have to take the inburgerng stuff. Or your programme will be reduced.
  • Petra posted:

    on 19th November 2009, 06:54:12 - Reply

    How about this? As an American, the first gementee I lived in told me to get lost when I had the time to do the whole integration BS. Now that I have a job, pay taxes and don't have a minute of spare time I get my "invitation" to integrate. Even better, because I took courses on my own they felt I didn't need the courses so I'm on my own to either take the korte vrijstelling which is at a much higher level, or the NT2 Staatexamin which is also at a much, much higher level.

    By the way, don't bother taking the korte vrijstelling at the moment. A few months ago it went to court and was declaired illegal due to the fact it's at a B1 level while the integration exam is at A2.
  • Giulia posted:

    on 19th November 2009, 01:03:01 - Reply

    But do we want to talk about the fact that the Dutch language courses provided by the stadsdelen don't offer any absolute beginner level course for highly educated expats (for example Americans who come to work here with an interntional company) but only bullshit for Moroccan grandmothers who speak good Dutch but can't write it? So you have to take a private course and spend 500 euro per level (6 levels in total) if you want to learn Dutch?
    And don't think that if you are a white atheist from EU integration is easier for you. After this financial crisis it became impossible to find a decent job if your Dutch is not perfect. I saw engineers sent to work in call centres by the uitzendbureaus and computer scientists sent to work in a warehouse (to carry packages). Primary school perfect Dutch shitty English is better than a Master's Degree fluent English basic Dutch. Not to mention this shitty habit, as Bjorn said of putting all the foreigners into the same box. Sometimes they treat you as you were coming from a third world country even if you come from a country that is richer than their one. In my opinion if this goes on the best people will leave the country and e Netherlands will attract only gipsies in the future.
  • KP posted:

    on 18th November 2009, 23:34:37 - Reply

    The Dutch need to learn what a "grandfather clause" is. Plain and simple. I hope some member of the Dutch government reads this and takes note!!!! "Don't punish the mass for what the few do". Shame on you.
    And I do follow the rules/work/pay taxes...etc...and you want money from me to go to some stupid course....yeah right....get real...
  • b4blue posted:

    on 18th November 2009, 22:32:54 - Reply

    when I first came here I thought it was an Islamic country...
  • Seth posted:

    on 18th November 2009, 15:27:30 - Reply

    it *IS* a joke, and they should really say what they mean, MUSLIMS need to be intergrated into western society and be taught that being gay is ok, your daughter wearing makeup, dating, learning to read, working, going to school, etc is all O K. but political correctness makes the rest of us have to go through the motions the same as those non-western immigrants that might not understand the basic expectations of a western country.

    to bjorn, theres an 81 euro korte vrijstelling toets you can take to get an exemption from the actual courses, i did it and passed. It's only 30 questions and over in an hour. That said, that toets is a fucking joke and had nothing to do with anything, and if you fail it you're forced to do the courses with no chance of a re-take.
  • Bjorn Solli posted:

    on 18th November 2009, 14:24:56 - Reply

    The integration concept in NL is a joke.
    Almost everybody will agree that many people from certain groups should be integrated better to the society, but the government are putting everybody into one standard box!
    I find it extremely humiliating when people (like myself) who have been living here for 15 years are forced to take the "inburgering" course! After so long time, running own business with employees, dealing with all the dutch bureaucracy on a daily base, it is completely stupid to require that I need to gather proof to show that I am able to talk dutch in the supermarket.

    Politicians, please do not make all foreigners in this country hate you! On one hand you are spending millions of € trying to attract foreign companies to establish here, on the other hand you are making their life here miserable. It does not make sense.
  • Murray posted:

    on 18th November 2009, 11:36:37 - Reply

    When he says "immigrants" (or New Netherlanders") does that include everyone who lives here and is not Dutch or everyone who lives here but doesn't have an EU passport? If the latter that makes a joke out of the whole integration concept