Holland, though a tiny country, has during the period of colonization sailed to Indonesia towards the south and Surinam towards the west. Power, business, shrewdness and the expatriates’ income led to a rapid financial prosperity of the country. There are admirations like dikes standing to block the north sea, international court of justice towering high in the air, etc., etc.
Door to immigration
Holland’s glory reached far, internationally and wide, opening doors of prospects, future and immigration. Its rapid economic transitions and industrialisations during 60’s and 70’s, led to among others a mass recruitment of Turkish and Moroccans in lower class labour forces. Many analysts view the subsequent influx of their families under the scheme of family reunion and the growth of Muslim population in the Netherlands as the beginning of the Islamisation of Europe.
In an attempt to combat the influx, in 2006 an obligatory overseas integration test was put in place. Under this law, a pass certificate on preliminary integration test is a prerequisite to apply for visa to join wives, husbands and children in the Netherlands. Though Human Rights Watch calls it a discriminatory policy targeting to certain population groups only, many Dutch ideologues are contented with its outcome.
Today, the immigrant population walking on the streets of big cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, etc. comprises more than 60%. This indeed is a growing threat to Dutch identity and a valid reason to feel discomfort. A “small loyalist group” had been increasingly expressing its frustration on this issue since years. This anti-immigrant vocalist group was perceived as a very insignificant number. However, a sweeping public support in the election of 2010 harnessed by the ultra-anti – (Islam) immigrant party came as a shocking reality.
Holland and hospitality
Many view Holland as a hostile and as an intolerant country. In 2011, Forbes magazine rated the Netherlands as the most unfriendliest country in the world for expatriates. Most probably this has to do with the individualistic and materialistic nature of Dutch society. Furthermore, the complexity of Dutch language and challenges with integration can be illustrated by the example of, Rodaan Al Galidi. Al Galidi, who received European Union’s literature prize on 28 November 2011 on behalf of the Netherlands, failed the Dutch integration test. This test makes one eligible just to apply for Dutch citizenship, keeping aside nearing the doors of possibilities and opportunities.
Further, on 10 April 2012, the Dutch Government announced to scrap the provision of integration assistance – a support for language and orientation programs from 2013. This makes the Netherlands the most difficult country, structurally and politically, for the immigrants and refugees.
Holland’s performance in socio-economic sector
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recently published its findings of a research conducted to compare nine public sector services in 28 developed countries during the period of 1995-2009. Though the Netherlands is reported to be doing well in the sectors of education, public administration and social security; its performance on health care sector is poor. The health care system in the Netherlands, considered one of the best in the world, according to this report is gliding down a slippery slope. The Netherlands scores 4.5 out of 10 points, concluding the expenditures in health sectors as inefficient, inappropriate and inadequate with shifting of priorities.
Opportunities in the Netherlands
The glory of the Netherlands’ job market appears dying down. The number of Dutch people migrating to other countries in search of better pastures is increasing each year. Recently, the Netherland’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported that since January to May this year, 52,000 people have left the country, making the number leaving the Netherlands 344 per day. This number in comparison to previous years is alarmingly high. The cited reasons for the migration are for better working climate, better possibilities and to escape from complex regulations and high tax.
Holland as a destination country?
If first-degree relatives are hanging in the Netherlands, there is no choice. Those who have options to make alternative choices, Holland will be an inappropriate one. However, unlike many critics conclude, immigrants who earn their own living in Holland are generally well accepted in the society; and at large, however small it be, the “successful immigrants” are happy. Contrast however is for those with limited skills, capacity and motivation.
One of the Contributing Editors of the Bhutan News Service on health issues, Dr. Lakshmi Prasad Dhakal, a Netherlands based physician, is originally from Dagapela, Bhutan. In an attempt to raise health awareness and to promote adoption of healthy behaviours among the immigrant population and among people of the developing countries, in collaboration with other public health experts Dr. Dhakal has founded, Global Health Promotion. It is a free knowledge-sharing institute operating online at www.globalhealthpromotion.org