Migration, Integration, Citizenship in the Netherlands between 1990 and 2018: The State of the Art

This literature review provides a discussion of the significant developments in the Netherlands’ immigration and integration policies between 1990 and 2018.[1] The paper is written within the framework of the ERC Advanced Grant Project titled “Nativism, Islamophobism and Islamism in the Age of Populism: Culturalisation and Religionisation of what is Social, Economic and Political in Europe”[2] (ISLAM-OPHOB-ISM).[3]  

This paper focuses on the Muslim-origin migrants as there is a long history of emigration from Turkey and Morocco to the Netherlands[4]. This review follows significant developments such as elections, new discourses, the rise of populism and the rising terrorist threats in the country in a chronological manner. However, it does not assess the impact and reception of these elements from the perspective of the migrant communities. It rather constitutes a study into the context which has shaped the experiences of migrants and their descendants.  

As we will discuss in this literature review, there are two contrasting discourses in the Dutch debate in regards to integration: one is pro-multicultural or pluralistic, and the other is pro-assimilation. The pluralistic discourse promotes a multicultural society, and the discourse of pro-assimilation promotes a monocultural society (Landman 2002). This contrast stems from the left-right political, the country’s experiences with the migrant flow in recent years, as well as the experiences and structures of the Muslim-origin communities, mainly the Turkish-origin and Moroccan-origin migrants. As such, there are various developments in terms of framing of Muslim-origin migrants, integration policies, particularly in regards to youth integration and acculturation.