Foreign partners more likely to be jobless, isolated in the Netherlands

People who come to the Netherlands to marry a Dutch national often end up without work, particularly well-educated women, according to a new report from the government’s socio-cultural think-tank SCP.

At the same time, the percentage of foreign partners brought to the Netherlands by people from the Turkish and Moroccan communities has gone down sharply.

In 2001, 60% of people with a Turkish origin found their partner in their country of origin but this has now dropped to 15%. In the Moroccan community, the percentage has fallen from 55% to 17%.

In particular, women who had good careers are likely to be disappointed with their experiences in the Netherlands, the report says.

‘The Dutch language often forms an obstacle and foreign qualifications are often not highly regarded,’ the report states.

‘Following an educational programme in the Netherlands can also be difficult: they are expensive and there is often no time because of the need to work or take care of a child.’


Twice as many women than men come to the Netherlands as marriage migrants. Native Dutch men are most likely to marry people from the former Soviet Union, Thailand, Indonesia, China and Brazil.

Broadcaster Nos quotes the example of Russian national Sacha Swyatkyna who married Dutchman Jan Schuurman four years ago.

Sacha, who had a good job in Russia, has been unable to find work in the Netherlands, even as a cleaner.

‘I’m getting depressed by all that staying at home. I want to talk to people, learn things,’ she told the broadcaster. Even offering her services as a free intern has not resulted in any takers.

In addition, physical abuse, isolation and abandonment are issues which confront foreign partners, the SCP said. The report is based on interviews with partners and experts but does not include the experience of EU residents who marry Dutch nationals.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation