SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Immigrants to the Netherlands with a ‘non-western background’ start out with having more faith in public institutions such as parliament and the police than the native Dutch, but the difference fades away over time, according to new research published by national statistics office CBS.
For example, 58% of people who moved to the Netherlands from South America, most of Asia and Africa less than five years ago have confidence in the Dutch civil service, but this figure is only 45% among the native population.
But among ‘non-western’ immigrants who have lived here for 40 years, only 43% have faith in civil servants, the research shows. The same trend is apparent across other institutions, the CBS says.
Confidence in politicians drops from 62% to 34% and faith in the European Union from 68% to 39%. Among the native population, the figures are 40% and 44% respectively.
By contrast, the views of immigrants from Europe and the US change little over time. CBS researchers suggest the difference may be down to countries of origin. People from countries which are more undemocratic or corrupt may be likely to have higher expectations of the Netherlands and become disillusioned the longer they live here.
At the same time discrimination may play a role, with people losing faith in institutions if they face racism and discrimination directly, the researchers suggest. The research is based on CBS statistics covering the period 2012 to 2019 in which 4,892 immigrants took part.
The CBS said in April it is to stop using the ‘western’ and ‘non-western’ categories when researching immigrants because they are ‘divisive’ and ‘set people apart’. It currently defines ‘non-western’ as people from Africa, South America or Asia (excluding Indonesia and Japan) or from Turkey.