MPs call for ‘patronising and old-fashioned’ integration test overhaul


The test about Dutch society which most non-EU residents need to take in the Netherlands should be overhauled because it is old-fashioned and patronising, according MPs from two of the coalition parties.

VVD MP Bente Becker and D66’s Jan Paternotte want social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees to modernise the test and to make sure the questions it asks are useful.

‘Questions such as “what should you do if the television is on while you are vacuuming” are absurd and contribute nothing to integration,’ Paternotte is quoted as saying by news agency ANP.

The two MPs will question the minister about possible changes during a debate on integration policy on Wednesday evening.

The test has been widely criticised for relying on stereotypes and asking questions with no right or wrong answer and Koolmees said last month that he is looking at overhauling the entire integration exam package.

A shortage of examiners has already forced the government to scrap the final test from the controversial ‘how to get a job’ section of the integration exams and Koolmees says the entire section may be scrapped for people who already have work.

The integration or inburgering exams consist of six parts: writing, reading, comprehension, speaking, knowledge of Dutch society and knowledge of the labour market.

New arrivals in the Netherlands who have to go through the inburgering process have three years to pass. People who have passed the NTI or NT2 Dutch language tests may not have to take the knowledge of society and knowledge of the labour market exams.