From vodka to wooden shoes

22/01/2009 15:00

In 2001, immigration from the former Soviet republics reached a record level, when more than 6 thousand people came to the Netherlands. Since 2004, immigration is stable at approximately 3 thousand a year. Most immigrants come from the Caucasus region, e.g. Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Immigration from the former Soviet Union

Immigration from the former Soviet Union

Around 2000 most immigrants from the former Soviet Union were asylum seekers

Currently, 49.5 thousand immigrants from the former Soviet Union have settled in the Netherlands; 37.3 thousand are first-generation immigrants. Statistics Netherlands has only recently begun to distinguish between immigrants from the various Soviet republics.

Around the turn of the century, the number of immigrants from the former Soviet Union increased dramatically. Most of them came from the Caucasus region (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), fleeing the turmoil and violence at home. The number of Russian immigrants also increased on account of the perilous situation in the Russian province of Chechnya. After 2001, the influx from the Caucasus and Chechnya dwindled as a more rigid immigration policy came into effect.

First-generation immigrants from the former Soviet Union by country of origin and year of settlement, September 2005 

First-generation immigrants from the former Soviet Union by country of origin and year of settlement, September 2005

More immigrants due to family formation and reunification

After 2001, family formation and family reunification rather than asylum became the main motive for former Soviet Union immigrants to settle in the Netherlands. Family formation chiefly involved women marrying native Dutchmen. In recent years, the proportion of female migrants has indeed risen. These women were predominantly born in the Baltic states, the western republics and Russia.

First-generation immigrants from the former Soviet Union by gender and year of settlement, September 2005

First-generation immigrants from the former Soviet Union by gender and year of settlement, September 2005

Katja Chkalova and Lada Mulalic