1.4.2005 | Von:
Ines Michalowski

A new view of their German neighbours

The multicultural consensus was therefore already breaking down in the Netherlands in the 1990s. By the beginning of the new century, it led to the appointment of an Investigative Commission by Parliament.[1]
Ein Maurer-Wettbewerbsteilnehmer auf der "WorldSkills Leipzig 2013" auf dem Messegelände in Leipzig (Sachsen) am 05.07.2013 bei seiner Arbeit.German apprentice mason at work. (© picture alliance / ZB)

The Committee was set up to look into the question of why Dutch integration policies of the previous thirty years seemed to have gone wrong. The common view of the German situation also changed. In particular, comparative research on the integration of migrants into the labour market in Germany and the Netherlands generated debates not just amongst researchers but also in the broader public. The Dutch sociologist Ruud Koopmans (2003) commented on the paradoxical situation whereby the socio- economic integration of migrants in Germany, a country with no special integration policy, was seemingly more successful than that in the Netherlands, a country with a longer tradition of integration policies. With regard to the situation in the labour market, at the beginning of the 21st century the Netherlands had a unemployment rate among so-called "Allochtonen" four times higher than in the native population: in Germany, by contrast, the unemployment rate is "only" twice as high.

Unemployment among 15 - 64 year olds in the NetherlandsUnemployment among 15 - 64 year olds in the Netherlands Lizenz: cc by-nc-nd/2.0/de (bpb)
As a possible explanation, it has been suggested that the education and training system in Germany offers comparably good chances for young migrants to start a career. In addition, the representation of migrants in trade unions and staff associations in Germany is better developed than in the Netherlands, a factor that experts have argued is more effective in protection against discrimination than any sophisticated anti-discrimination legislation (Thränhardt/Böcker, 2003).


The commission was named "Commissie Blok" after its Chairperson.



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