State gives €5,000 to elderly Surinamese without full pensions

Pensions minister Carola Schouten. Photo: RVD – Valerie Kuypers and Martijn Beekman

The cabinet is proposing to give 30,000 elderly Surinamese people a one-off payment of €5,000 each to compensate them for shortfalls in their state pension AOW.

The money is meant for people who came from Suriname to the Netherlands before it became independent in 1975. Pension rights which they had built up while their country was part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands were not transferable to their new home, meaning they were left with a shortfall.

To qualify for a full Dutch state pension, retirees must have lived in the country for 50 years.

Pension minister Carola Schouten described the payment as a “gesture of recognition” for the injustice the pensioners had suffered. The cabinet has set aside €112 million to fund the compensation package.

“Elderly members of the Surinamese community feel they are second-class citizens, but they came to the Netherlands because they wanted to remain Dutch,” Schouten said.

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