Some 600,000 Europeans live in Holland, and few are on benefits

Some 600,000 people from other EU countries currently live in the Netherlands and 20,000 of them are claiming jobless or welfare benefits, according to new figures from the national statistics office CBS.

Some 450,000 of the EU residents come from ‘old’ EU countries, the CBS said. But of the 153,000 EU nationals who moved to the Netherlands over the past five years, 139,000 come from new members states in central and eastern Europe.

It is the first time the CBS has put together a break-down of EU migration. The research was carried out on behalf of social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher.


The research also shows the overwhelming majority of EU nationals are in paid employment or supported by their partner. In 2011, some 11,000 were claiming welfare benefits (bijstand) and around 9,000 unemployment benefit. A further 13,000 had some form of incapacity benefit.

This is a slight net increase over the past five years and the trend will be monitored in the future, Asscher said in a briefing to MPs.

‘As I said earlier, the fact that only a limited number of people [are claiming benefits] does not mean the cabinet will not make an effort to prevent the Dutch social security system acting as a draw,’ Asscher said.

The minister caused a stir last month when he said EU citizens should also be required to sign a ‘participation contract’ when they take up residence in the Netherlands, to show they will respect Dutch norms and values.

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VVD urges action on benefit tourism

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