Thursday, April 1, 2010

Immigration comes at hefty price in the Netherlands

From Dutch quality newspaper Nrc.nl

Immigrants are expensive for Dutch society, but few people want to say it out loud for fear of the consequences, a study by a Dutch scientist has found.


By Dirk Vlasblom

The economic effects of immigration have become a hot-button issue in Dutch politics. The mere mention of the subject is often greeted with suspicion and loathing. But that didn’t stop scholar Jan van de Beek from writing his doctoral thesis on the issue. In his PhD research, which he defended at the University of Amsterdam on Tuesday, he answered two related questions: what kind of economic consequences did mass immigration to the Netherlands between 1960 and 2005 have, and why is it such a taboo to study the economic effects of these immigrants?

Van de Beek has come to conclusions the Netherlands may not like. Since the 1970s, little research has been done into the economic effects of immigration, for fear of playing into the hand of the xenophobic right. As recently as last year, populist politician Geert Wilders asked the Dutch cabinet to calculate the net costs or benefits imposed on society by immigrants. Cabinet refused to do so, which led to uproar amongst several opposition parties. The minister responsible called it “improper” to reduce citizens’ contribution to society “to a profit-loss analysis”.
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Day Opening - April 1

Amboseli National park, Kenya
by: Oleg Domalega