Largest number of emigrants since 1954

07/03/2005 10:00

A total of 49 thousand native Dutch emigrated in 2004, the largest number since 1954. Most Dutch emigrants settled in Germany and Belgium.

Work or partner

Emigration of native Dutch to Belgium amounted to 7.2 thousand persons in 2003, while 6.2 thousand emigrated to Germany. Better opportunities on the labour market and partners are the main reasons for leaving the Netherlands to settle elsewhere. Other reasons for emigration to Belgium or Germany are the more favourable tax systems and modest property prices. The number of emigrants who left the Netherlands to settle in the United Kingdom in 2003 amounted to 3.0 thousand and 2.1 thousand left for France and Spain. The latter countries are particularly popular among the older generation.

Dutch immigration and emigration

Dutch immigration and emigration

Emigration and economic climate

There is a relation between foreign emigration and economic climate. In the late 1990s, when the economy was strong, immigration peaked. The people who came to the Netherlands were predominantly repatriates. Emigration, on the other hand, was at a very low level in the late 1990s, compared to prior years.

Australia and Canada

In 2001 more than 700 thousand native Dutch were living in other OECD countries. Most Dutch emigrants are living in Canada, the United States, Australia, Germany and Belgium. Turkey is just outside the top ten of most favourite emigration countries. Emigration to Turkey is of a different nature to the effect that it mainly concerns people with a Turkish background who were born in the Netherlands.

Native Dutch living abroad, 2001

Native Dutch living abroad, 2001

Wave of emigrants in the 1950s

The large numbers of people from the Netherlands now living in Canada, the United States and Australia mirror the wave of emigrants of the 1950s. Apprehensive of overpopulation and unemployment, an annual average of 33 thousand Dutch men and women left the Netherlands in that period to settle in Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and South Africa. In 1952 more than 50 thousand native Dutch tried their luck in one of these countries. Emigration was stimulated by the Dutch government, which also provided financial support. In the early 1960s, the wave of emigrants petered out, partly due to a shortage on the Dutch labour market. Subsequently, the Netherlands became an immigration rather than an emigration country.

Dutch emigrants in various countries

Dutch emigrants in various countries

Arno Sprangers and Han Nicolaas