Over 70 thousand refugees in the Netherlands

On 1 January 2008 there were over 70 thousand refugees living in the Netherlands. Almost nine out of ten arrived in 2002 of before that. The others settled in the Netherlands between 2003 and 2007. This is shown by the study commissioned by Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland and carried out by Statistics Netherlands.

Many refugees came from Afghanistan and Iraq

Over 18 percent of the refugees who lived in the Netherlands on 1 January 2008 came from Afghanistan. Many fled the Taliban, which became increasingly powerful at the end of the 1990s. Many people fled from Iraq, especially from the regime of the Baa’th party.

Refugees by country of origin, 1 January 2008

Refugees by country of origin, 1 January 2008

At the end of the 1990s many refugees came from Angola, the former Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia to the Netherlands. There was a civil war in Angola (Africa) and unrest in the republics of the former Soviet Union as well then. After a conflict started in the Serbian part of former Yugoslavia, over 2 thousand citizens of former Yugoslavia fled to the Netherlands in 1999. This was six times as many as the year before.

Men overrepresented among the refugees

Some 60 percent of all refugees in the Netherlands in 2008 were male. There were more male than female refugees in 2008 from almost all countries of origin. Exceptionally high were Sierra Leone and the Sudan: almost three in four refugees from these countries were men. There were almost as many male as female refugees from the former Soviet Union.

Share of male and female refugees by country of origin, 1 January 2008

Share of male and female refugees by country of origin, 1 January 2008

Refugees live throughout the Netherlands

In 2008 the spread of refugees across the Netherlands matched that of the total population fairly closely. Almost half lived in the western part of the country. Refugees from Sudan, China and Afghanistan tended to live more in the western part whereas refugees from the former Soviet Union, former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone and Somalia tended to settle in the southern part.

Ivo Gorissen and Nicol Sluiter