Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Dutch are moving to Canada

Doug Saunders:

So the van Ramshorst family, troubled by the changes brought about by immigration, have decided to become immigrants themselves.

With their move to Vancouver this summer, they are joining an unprecedented number of people from the Netherlands who have decided, in recent months, to make a new home in what they see as the more comforting and less divisive Canada.

The sudden exodus to Canada has taken the Dutch government entirely by surprise.

During the past year, and especially during the past five months, the number of Dutch citizens applying to depart for faraway countries -- notably Canada, as well as New Zealand and Australia -- has increased to levels not seen in the tiny nation's modern history.

Most of those emigrants, according to the people who help them make their moves, are leaving because of their complex and surprising feelings about the changes to Dutch society brought about by immigration.

For some, the desire to leave is a response to the immigrants themselves, and what many people here view as their violent, divisive, non-Dutch ways.

But just as many Dutch immigrants seem to be alarmed that immigration has turned their countrymen into angry, intolerant nationalists.

In just about every country in Europe, immigration has become the most significant political issue, by far, in public opinion, media attention and parliamentary action. In Germany, France, Britain and Italy, immigrants have become the dominant election issue.

Faced with shrinking, aging populations and the attendant economic costs, most European countries are badly in need of immigrants. In some countries, this has led to culture shock.

The ethnic cleansing and mass migration of the two world wars left many European countries with one dominant ethnic group, so the presence of large numbers of visibly different people has alarmed and alienated many residents.

Nowhere is this being more strongly felt than in traditionally tolerant, open nations such as Britain and the Netherlands.

While both countries face severe labour shortages and therefore cannot give up on immigration, the public reaction to the demographic changes has been nothing short of fury.

In the campaign leading toward the May 5 national election in Britain, polls show that immigration is by far the most significant issue to voters of all classes and backgrounds -- outpacing by an enormous margin other hot topics such as crime and taxation.

Even the governing left-wing Labour Party has felt compelled to adopt the angry rhetoric of the anti-immigrant right, and has promised to cut back the number of refugees accepted (if not the number of immigrants).

In the Netherlands, the reaction has been equally heated. But there, people are voting with their feet.

"The entire society is changing and people are longing for the world of 20, 30 years ago -- some people believe they can only find that by leaving," says Frans Buysse, a former Canadian embassy employee who runs Holland's largest agency for people wishing to emigrate to Canada.

Mr. Buysse can pinpoint the precise moment when the Dutch outflow became a full-scale flood. On Nov. 2, the libertine filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in a bloody throat slitting by a Muslim extremist while cycling on an Amsterdam street. To outsiders, it seemed a strange, passing crime. But the Dutch responded, within their tight-knit community, the way some Americans did to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Suddenly, people were noticing immigrant crimes, and committing crimes against immigrants: December saw the firebombing of several mosques and Islamic schools.

During the next four weeks, Mr. Buysse received 13,000 on-line applications from people requesting information on moving to Canada -- more than four times the usual level. Since then, this increase hasn't stopped. And, he says, the thousands of people he has helped move to Canada during the past few years have mentioned either immigration, or intolerance resulting from immigration, as a reason for leaving.

"For certain people, Nov. 2 was a confirmation of their beliefs," he said. "As a society, we have always been very tolerant to people from other places -- for hundreds of years, this has been the case -- but we have become so tolerant that some groups are influencing society in such a way that it starts to become intolerant. People are fed up with this."

I think the Canadians should brace themselves for a lot of European immigrants in the years to come.

Around the Blogosphere:

Double Dutch

Dutch Fleeing 'Liberal' Homeland In Record Numbers

A new wave of Dutch immigration


At 5:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if they've really researched their destination of choice, since Canada admits more immigrants per capita than any nation in the world, most of them from same third world sources plaguing Europe. That is, Canada is busily demographically destroying itself at an even greater pace than the countries these European immigrants are coming from. Which is, I can only assume, exactly what they are fleeing to Canada to escape.

Ever been to Toronto? And there is a reason Vancouver is now referred to as 'Hongcouver'.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Adam Lawson said...

I've never been to either Toronto or Vancouver but I was surprised by the information that I found on this website:


Quote: "By 1996, when the last census figures were published, there were 265,000 "Chinese by ethnic origin" in the greater Vancouver metropolitan area, out of a total population of about 1.8 million. One-third of Vancouver city proper is now Chinese."

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, if you knew it 'before', and now 'after', it is a shame what has happened -- or what Canadians allowed to happen -- to Vancouver. Of course like any major 'Pacific Rim' city in North America, it had a significant Asian population before, but nothing like now. Most who make up the recent surge in Chinese there came from Hong Kong -- Vancouver was the destination of choice for those who wanted to get out before the British handed HK back to the mainland. I still remember my first encounter with a young Chinese woman who spoke English with a distinctly British accent -- a bit startling the first time you hear it, but charming as well (she was, anyway). She and her family were probably typical of recent arrivals: middle class or better, anxious to escape HK before the handover.

Of course San Francisco is now 'the most Chinese city in America', and has lost a lot of its old character as a result too.

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another link about Canada:


At 10:34 AM, Blogger Adam Lawson said...

Thanks for the link! It is amazing how men like Bob Rae get into power and yet we see people like Rae in positions of authority in both Europe and North America making decisons that end up hurting the countries that they are supposed to be serving.

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