Largest sources of immigrants to the Netherlands

The origin of immigrants to the Netherlands has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. While in the '60s and '70s most immigrants came from Southern Europe and Morocco, nowadays many immigrants come from Eastern Europe, according to new data published by Statistics Netherlands.

Of the 64.000 EU citizens who came to the Netherlands in 2011 (40 percent of the total number of immigrants that year), half of them came from Eastern Europe. In the meantime, 39.000 EU citizens left the country, 15.000 of whom returned to Eastern Europe. Among the usual immigration countries (Turkey, Morocco, Suriname, and the Dutch Antilles), only Turkey and the Antilles remained in the top 10 in 2011.

The immigrants that came to the Netherlands during the '60s and '70s were for the most part workers coming from Southern Europe and Morocco. After a wave of family reunion and family formation following these workers, asylum seekers from Africa and Asia formed a large part of immigration during the '90s.

Since it joined the EU in 2004, Poland has been the largest source of immigrants to the Netherlands. In 2011 19.000 Poles immigrated here, making them the largest group of immigrants born outside of the Netherlands. Meanwhile 7.000 Poles left the country.

The net balance of Poles settling in the Netherlands is relatively high compared to other countries, such as Germany, the US, and the UK, where the number of people immigrating to the Netherlands is nearly counterbalanced by those returning to their home countries.

The 19.000 Poles moving to the Netherlands in 2011 form the second largest influx of immigrants from one country the Netherlands has seen in the past half century. Suriname set the record in 1975, when 38.000 of its citizens moved here after Suriname gained its independence.

Immigration from Southern European Member States has also increased in recent years: around 3.000 people from both Spain and Italy moved here in 2011, twice as many compared to 2007.

Carly Blair


Carly Blair



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