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Migration and the Dutch welfare state

08 February 2017

Why do migrants choose the Netherlands? It's often thought that it is because of the high quality of the welfare state, but according to Groningen professor Helga de Valk, that’s a misconception. If it were true, then the Scandinavian countries would be the most popular, and migrants would never want to move on. The data does not support this scenario.

De Valk: 'Large-scale European research has revealed that it is important to look at the life course. The life course reveals at what point in a person’s life they choose to migrate, and what the most important factors in that person’s life are at that moment. Young people from other European member states, for example, come to the Netherlands to study or to work. That means that they are not really concerned with welfare state arrangements such as childcare or pensions. In fact, people don’t know very much about them.'

Prof.Helga de Valk also works for the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI).

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Last modified:28 September 2021 2.32 p.m.
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