In 2007, just over 123 thousand emigrants left the Netherlands, 9 thousand fewer than in 2006. For the first time since 2000, the upward trend was abandoned. The decrease mainly occurred among first generation people with a foreign background.
The decrease in emigration in 2007 marks the end of an uninterrupted increase over the past seven years. The number of emigrants who left the Netherlands last year (123 thousand) is however still far above the average level over the period 2001-2005, when an average of 103 thousand people emigrants annually left the country.
Decrease mainly found among first generation
Two in every four emigrants have a foreign background. In particular the number of emigrants with a foreign background belonging to the first generation declined in 2007. Last year, 64 thousand of them emigrated, more than 7 thousand fewer than in the preceding year. The number of native Dutch and second generation people with a foreign background, who emigrated in 2007 declined by approximately one thousand each. Last year, nearly 18 thousand people belonging to the second generation and 41 thousand native Dutch left the country to settle elsewhere.
Emigration by ethnic background
Belgium remains popular
The decline in emigrants in 2007 does not occur in all countries. Belgium remains a popular destination for emigrants. In 2007, more than 12 thousand emigrants settled in Belgium, a couple of hundred more than in 2006. Houses are cheaper and amply available and the environment is regarded as more pleasant. With nearly 12 thousand emigrants, Germany also remains popular.
Emigration by country of destination
Belgian route not used frequently
About half of the 12 thousand emigrants to Belgium have a foreign background. One third are native Belgians. Since 2004, the number of emigrants to Belgium with a Turkish or Moroccan background has risen markedly to more than 2,200 in 2007.
This may be due to stricter legislation regarding family formation prompting people to move to Belgium to bypass Dutch laws, the so-called Belgian route. Frequent use of the Belgian route is, however, not corroborated by emigration statistics. Immigration of Moroccans and Turks from Belgium indeed increased since 2004, but to a far lesser extent than emigration. In 2007, Moroccan and Turkish immigrants constituted less than one third of emigrants to Belgium.
Migration to and from Belgium of people of Turkish or Moroccan descent (irrespective of nationality)
Han Nicolaas and Elma van Agtmaal-Wobma