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Immigration from Eastern Europe to the Netherlands on the rise

Immigration from Eastern Europe to the Netherlands remains high according to Statistics Netherlands.

The countries of origin of immigrants has changed considerably in the past half century. In the 1960s and 70s, most immigrants came from Southern Europe and Morocco. Currently, many immigrants come from Eastern Europe.

In recent years, a considerable part of immigrants to the Netherlands come from countries in Eastern Europe. Last year, 64 thousand EU residents came to the Netherlands (40 percent of total immigration in 2011). Half of them were of East European descent; 39 thousand EU residents left the Netherlands, among whom 15 thousand East Europeans. The traditional immigration countries are Turkey, Morocco, Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles. Only Turkey and the Antilles were in the top ten last year.

The immigrants who arrived in the Netherlands in the 1960s and 70s predominantly came from Southern Europe and Morocco. After these migrant workers went through a family reunification and family formation stage, immigration in the 1990s mostly concerned asylum seekers from Africa and Asia.

Since Poland joined the EU in May 2004, most immigrants are Polish nationals. Nearly 19 thousand arrived in the Netherlands last year. They constitute the largest group of immigrants born outside the Netherlands. At the same time, 7 thousand Polish citizens left the Netherlands. As a result, 12 thousand immigrants from Poland settled in the Netherlands.

The immigration from EU member states in Southern Europe is also growing. More than 3 thousand Spanish and nearly 3 thousand Italian immigrants came to the Netherlands, i.e. more than twice as many as in 2007.

From a historical point of view, the influx of 19 thousand Polish nationals in 2011 was high. During the past five decades, annual immigration was higher than Polish immigration in 2011 only once: in 1975, when Surinam gained independence, 38 thousand Surinamese immigrants came to the Netherlands. With 19 thousand in 2011, Poland is in second place, surpassing the Indonesian immigration boom of 1962 (16 thousand) during the crisis in New Guinea and the upswing in the number of Turkish and Moroccan immigrants in 1980. In that year, 17 thousand Turks and 10 thousand Moroccans settled in the Netherlands.