Tuesday, February 24, 2009


From nrc.nl/international

The "knowledge worker":- Counter to previous trends, the largest group settling in the Netherlands the last three years from outside of Europe is now highly educated people from India.

Most Indians live in the country's larger cities - where the majority of the technology businesses are located - particularly in Amstelveen, a suburb of Amsterdam. Indian businesses have also sprung up. Already there are 33 in and around Amsterdam, mainly front offices of large Indian companies.

"Free movers seldom put down roots in Amsterdam":- Young Europeans who come to Amsterdam to live and work have trouble fitting in. Initially attracted by the Dutch reputation for tolerance and openness, most leave the city after little more than a year. This is because “free movers” feel excluded from Dutch society, claims Adrian Favell who is sociology professor at the University of California.

Favell is not talking about discrimination. “It’s much more subtle than that. Foreigners have difficulty breaking the social codes and can’t find their way through the Dutch bureaucratic maze. One of the people I interviewed pays 2,000 euros a month rent for his apartment whereas his Dutch neighbour one floor down pays just 250-300 euros.

“And why is that? It’s because his Dutch neighbour has been a member of a housing cooperation for years and he hasn’t. Life in Amsterdam is full of such subtle ways to exclude you and it’s one of the reasons expats tend to leave. The Netherlands has one of the smallest percentages of European residents in Europe.”

Difficulties in an international Den Haag:- At the entrance to the shop there is a recommendation for ‘haggis,’ a typical Scottish product made from sheep’s innards, oats and spices. On the shelves lie English biscuits, crisps, marmalades and countless other British products. This branch of the Thomas Green’s chain is located on the Frederik Hendriklaan in the Statenkwartier neighbourhood, the centre of The Hague’s international district. About one in three residents is of foreign extraction, but there are hardly any non-Western immigrants here.

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