Going Dutch

The national statistics office CBS published new figures today showing that the Dutch population is set to rise to 17.5 million by 2038.

And by 2050, 29% of the population will be allochtoon, the CBS says – that nasty little word which means ‘non-native’.
At the moment, 20% of we residents of the Netherlands are foreign – although many of us, of course, were born and brought up here. The CBS regards people as ‘non-natives’ if one parent was born abroad. It takes an awfully long time to be considered a bona fide Dutchman or woman.
And, as the Parool’s report on the anger being caused by the civic integration tests shows, it does not matter how educated you are or how well you speak Dutch.
Unless you have that little piece of paper that says you are an approved citizen, you will never be completely accepted by the bureaucracy.
The Netherlands got it wrong when it ignored its immigrants and left them to their own devices in years gone by. But it is too late to do anything about the now elderly people who came to do jobs no Dutch national wanted to do, and never learned the language.
And those who did make the effort should not be tied up in red tape either. There is more to being Dutch than a certificate of integration or four parents who were born on Dutch soil.

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