Do more to combat discomfort caused by 'new diversity', Dutch policy council says

crowd atlassb Flickr. ()

Dutch policymakers should work harder on "the new diversity" in the Netherlands and to combat the discomfort that comes with it, the scientific council for government policy WRR said in its report 'The new diversity. Increasing diversity by origin in the Netherlands', NOS reports.

Over the last few decades so many new population groups came to the Netherlands that Dutch and migrants that lived here for years feel increasingly unwelcome and unsafe in their neighborhood, the WRR writes. This discomfort is not only noticeable in disadvantaged neighborhoods, but also in more prosperous neighborhoods and municipalities, according to the council.

The WRR therefore calls on policymakers to not only focus on the integration of, for example, Turkish and Moroccan migrants, but also keep an eye on the arrival of new groups. "Because the more diverse a neighborhood becomes, the more the coexistence will come under pressure", sociologist Godfried Engbersen, one of the authors of the report, said, according to NOS. 

The researchers also looked at the economic consequences of the arrival of new groups. In some region this had an inhibiting effect on the economy, especially in Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland and Utrecht. Even in areas where relatively many well educated people live, a large variety appears to inhibit economic growth. According to the WRR, this may be because new Netherlands residents often don't speak the language well. 

International research shows that diversity can stimulate innovation and creativity, but according to the WRR, only individual companies benefit from that. "A company can benefit from a great diversity of staff, but te region where the company is based could lose more money on the costs that this diversity entails, such as relatively high spending on housing or education, or measures to promote social cohesion", the report reads.