Integration Report: New image of the Netherlands
Commissioned by the city councils of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Professor of European Studies Paul Scheffer and his colleague Han Entzinger from Erasmus University Rotterdam have conducted a study into the cities’ levels of integration. Like many other major cities in the world, migrant families now account for half the population of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The results have been published in the report ‘The State of Integration’.
Prof. Scheffer, who initiated the study, notes that segregation of minority groups within the capital city Amsterdam has increased in recent years, while the harbor city of Rotterdam has seen a decrease. A worrying factor to emerge from the study is that it is no longer just the affluent native Dutch who are moving out to the provinces but also the middle-class migrant population. The researchers therefore advise policymakers to continue their efforts to make cities more attractive to the middle classes.
An encouraging factor for the cities is that second-generation immigrants are much more successful than their first-generation counterparts as a result of being better integrated into the education system. There has also been a noticeable rise in the number of small businesses in both cities. This does not detract from the fact that the labor market position of migrants and their children is still generally weak as their education levels continue to lag behind the native Dutch standard. A further point for concern is the relatively high level of juvenile delinquency and health problems among the Turkish community in particular.
Among the positive developments highlighted in the report is the strong connection felt by migrant communities towards their city and the increased contact with other groups outside their own ethnic circles, unlike their native Dutch counterparts. Of all the groups, the native Dutch seem to prove the least inclined to mix with others outside their own demographic.
Scheffer concludes that the dividing line between native Dutch and immigrant communities, and the terms themselves, will disappear and that the country's two largest cities are already leading the way in building a new image of the Netherlands.