Social Issues: Canadian-Dutch connections

Social Issues: Canadian-Dutch connections

When thinking about the Netherlands, visions of tulips and clogs might be the only things that come to mind. However, the Netherlands also has rich multicultural elements to its society and it is rewarding to explore what Dutch diversity has to offer.

Canadians in the Netherlands

Statistics Netherlands shows that in 2014 approximately 14.925 people with Canadian heritage reside in the Netherlands:
 First generation background: 5.310
 Second generation background (total): 9.615
 Second generation background (one parent born abroad): 9.065
 Second generation background (both parents born abroad): 550

On the flip-side, about one million persons of Dutch origin reside in Canada, roughly three per cent of the Canadian population.

Dutch-Canadian relations

Reviewing multiple sites will show that Canada and the Netherlands have a strong partnership from the political to the economic.

The Government of Canada’s webpage is a good resource if you would like to learn more about Canada-Netherlands relations and their economic influence. According to the site:

"The most recent figures show that the Netherlands ranks as the second largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Canada. In 2011, Dutch FDI in Canada totalled 56,3 billion dollars, representing 9,3 per cent of total FDI stock in Canada.

Two-way merchandise trade was valued at 8,1 billion dollars in 2012. The Netherlands was Canada's sixth largest merchandise export market, with 4,5 billion dollars in exports that year.

Bilateral trade in services totaled 2,2 billion dollars in 2010. Canada's services exports to the Netherlands totaled 961 million dollars (11th position globally) and services imports from the Netherlands to Canada, 1,3 billion dollars (11th position globally) that year.

The country is a particularly key logistics partner in positioning Canadian goods elsewhere in Europe and other regions."

Working holiday exchange agreements

Regarding unique work opportunities, the International Experience Canada website states: "The Kingdom of the Netherlands and Canada have signed a bilateral arrangement that permits Canadians aged 18 to 30 to travel and work in the Netherlands for up to 12 months."

That is an interesting and unique opportunity to test the waters in the Netherlands. If you want to know more about the Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) and the Working Holiday Program (WHP), check out the Immigration and Naturalisation Service website or contact one of the IND offices and desks.

Historical ties between Canada and the Netherlands

Aside from the economic, the affinity between the two countries is undoubtedly based on strong historical ties.

Most importantly, Princess Juliana and her family lived in Ottawa during much of the occupation during WWII. In fact, there is interesting footage of Juliana’s family during that time on Youtube.

The Royal Canadian Legion in the Netherlands

It should also be noted that the Canadian forces spearheaded the Liberation of the Netherlands at the end of WWII. This could explain why there is a Royal Canadian Legion in the Netherlands; a branch of the largest Canadian veteran organisation. This branch is know as the RCL 005 and goes under the name "The Liberation of The Netherlands".

This year the legion will be recognising its 11th anniversary and has ambitious plans to make this year’s poppy campaign bigger than ever. The legion is participating in more ceremonies than ever, before but there is still much work to be done.

For those that do not know, one can read at the RCL 005 website:

"Each and every year in October and November paper poppies decorate the lapels and collars of the entire Canadian population both inside and outside of Canada.

Since 1921, the poppy has been the symbol of remembrance and the visual sign of the conviction of never wanting to forget that, for freedom, Canadian soldiers fell during the Second World War.

The poppy is also an international symbol of remembrance and has been adopted by many other countries to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the restoration of freedom.

In the Netherlands RCL Branch 005 organises an annual poppy campaign with the help of many volunteers.

Once started in 2004 with the inhabitants of Apeldoorn, more municipalities were added to the campaign such as, Zandvoort (2005), Heemstede (2007), and from 2008 onwards Bloemendaal, Hillegom and Veendam.

Furthermore, just recently the town of Brunssum (South Limburg) as well as Wassenaar and The Hague have started working on a poppy campaign this past year."

If you’d like to get involved do not hesitate to check out the RCL 005 website.

Upcoming RCL remembrance events

Upcoming Commemoration events in 2014 include:
 [October 25 and 27, 2014] Remembrance at the Canadian and British War cemetery and two more monuments in Bergen op Zoom.
 [November 9, 2014] Remembrance Day Apeldoorn
 [November 11, 2014] Remembrance Day Canadian War Cemetery Groesbeek

Canadian clubs and support in the Netherlands

Regarding social media and social support for Canadians in the Netherlands, there are several networks available:

- Royal Canadian Legion Branch 005

This Facebook page represents the Dutch Branch 005 of the Royal Canadian Legion. Their mission is to help commemorate and remember the Canadians that liberated Netherlands. Those interested in joining remembrances or ceremonies please visit the website.

- Canadians in the Netherlands

This Facebook group is for Canadians living/working in the Netherlands to exchange ideas on lifestyle, expats, current events, anecdotes, best restaurants, places to go and other things Canadians like to talk about.

- Canadian International Club of Amsterdam

This Facebook group represents the Canadian International Club of Amsterdam (CICA). It is a social club, offering free membership, with regular social events, usually in the Amsterdam area.

The club spotlights Canadian happenings in the Netherlands, bringing the network together through diverse, yet very Canadian events. The group has evolved over the years into a family that offers support, social and business networking, friendships and everlasting memories.

This group was created by a Canadian, for Canadians, welcoming everyone from the international community, whether they were born in Canada, have lived in Canada or simply like Canucks. Everyone is welcome, in true Canadian style!

- Canadian Club of the Netherlands

This Facebook page represents the Canadian Club of the Netherlands, aka C.C.N. It is a non-denominational, non-political and non-profit association established in The Hague in 1967.

CCN is a volunteer group whose goal is to reach out to all Canadian expats to help make their stay in the Netherlands a wonderful experience. The CCN provides social, cultural, and educational activities for Canadians residing in the Netherlands.

Membership is open to both newly-arrived and already settled Canadian individuals, couples and families. For more information about CCN, send a message via the FB page or email [email protected].

- Canada2Leaf

Canada2Leaf represents an online information guide for Dutch living in Canada and Canadians living in the Netherlands. They can also be followed on Twitter and on Facebook.

- Embassy of Canada in the Netherlands

Simply put, the official Facebook page of the Embassy of Canada to the Netherlands.

- Canadian Restaurant Mondani

Run by Canadians, or at least from Canadian decent, it is a wonderful place with a Canadian atmosphere and a complete Canadian menu. Mondani is located in the eastern part of Holland in a town called Lochem.

Celebrating both cultures

In many ways the Canadian community is like any other multicultural community in the Netherlands. Every community hopes to succeed, fit in socially, understand and celebrate their heritage as well as Dutch culture. In this case, poppies hold a special place right up there with the tulip.

Every group struggles with the Dutch language, Dutch taxes and Dutch bureaucracy, thus having effective and supportive organisations helps the process of living in this country we all now call home.

Feel free to add relevant links to the comments section of the article that may help readers. Sharing resources is the best way that internationals can help support each other.

Many thanks to Philip Van Leeuwen (member of RCL 005) for providing his time and expertise to help with this article.

Christine  Fischer


Christine Fischer

Christine Fischer holds an M.A. & a M.Ed. in multicultural counseling psychology from TC, Columbia University, NYC. She created FischersFiresidechats discussions, workshops, and seminars to foster warm, informal, yet informed...

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