Experts concerned about eastern European children in Holland

The children of some Polish, Bulgarian and Romanian migrants in the Netherlands are at risk, according to a new report from the government’s socio-cultural policy unit SCP.

Not only do the children of migrants face language difficulties, but many are also growing up in poverty and illegal housing and in broken families, the SCP warns in the report, which is based on interviews with experts.

Their schooling suffers as their parents switch repeatedly between the Netherlands and their country of origin. Sometimes they are left to live with relatives. This, the report says, makes it hard for the children to put down roots and feel at home.

The report states that some parents work long hours and do not have time to take care of their children properly. Teenagers in particular are a problem group, hanging around on the street and falling into bad company.


There are 41,000 children from central and eastern Europe registered in the Netherlands. Of them, 24,000 are Polish. However, experts believe the true figure may well be higher.

The report was commissioned by the government with the aim of preventing a repeat of the problems experienced by children of Turkish and Moroccan origin.

The report is based on in-depth interviews with 29 teachers, social workers and healthcare professionals from all over the country but no parents or children.  

‘It should be borne in mind that, since the professionals we spoke to… only see children when there are problems, the picture may be skewed,’ the report said.

English summary page 81

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