The knowledge platform on integration and society KIS is looking into launching new studies into racism in the Netherlands. According to project leader Hanneke Felten, new research is desperately needed because there is currently virtually no scientifically based information on how to combat open racism, while this is a growing phenomenon. "Science focuses primarily on more subtle, unconscious prejudices, less on extreme, open racism", she said to newspaper AD.
Dutch people are increasingly concerned about the society and the way people in the Netherlands treat each other, as well as about the economy, according to the quarterly report on the mood in the Netherlands by social and cultural planning office SCP, the Volkskrant reports.
According to the SCP, 35 percent of Dutch are concerned about the way people are living together in the Netherlands, with some saying they experience a growing intolerance. The same percentage are concerned about immigration and integration, and 31 percent are concerned about the economy.
Voter turnout was up substantially in the country's provincial election on Wednesday, compared with turnout in 2015. Some 57.9 percent of eligible voters showed up at polling places, up from 47.8 percent four years earlier, according to RTL Nieuws.
The ruling coalition that forms the Cabinet in The Netherlands was projected to lose seven seats and its majority in the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament. Eerste Kamer relative newcomer Forum voor Democratie (FvD), a nationalist right wing party, was projected to secure ten seats in the Dutch Senate, and left wing GroenLinks was expected to take eight seats. There are 75 seats in the chamber, with the coalition currently holding 38 for a razor thin majority.
On Tuesday evening the 13 political party leaders responded to the shooting in Utrecht, in which three people were killed and three seriously injured, at the start of the last political debate before the Provincial States elections on Wednesday. PVV leader Geert Wilders and FvD leader Thierry Baudet decided to use their moment to blame the attack on Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) and CDA leader Sybrand Buma, linking the shooting to the Netherlands' immigration and integration policy, NOS reports.
A day after the first conviction for sexual harassment on the street, Rotterdam is expanding this regulation. The ban now also applies to harassing LGBTQ people, not only women, NOS reports.
Those who live in problem areas and break the law must be punished twice as harshly as those from another neighborhood who commit the same crime, according to VVD leader Klaas Dijkhoff. In this way he wants to force problem neighborhoods on the right path, he said to newspaper AD.
Dijkhoff will expand on his plan during the General Considerations, the parliamentary debate on next year's budget, on Wednesday.
Minister Wouter Koolmees of Social Affairs is putting an end to the Netherlands' current integration system in which immigrants and refugees have to buy their own civic integration course. Instead municipalities will set up a personal integration plan for all newcomers, which includes language courses, rent and costs for insurance, NOS reports.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are now really very almost done with their government agreement, ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers said to NOS on Friday afternoon. But he thinks the four parties will have to meet again on Monday.
There will be no meetings over the weekend. The ChristenUnie respects the Sunday rest. "And on Saturday I have other plans", Segers said to the broadcaster.
The Rutte III government is changing the immigration policy, specifically they're limiting immigrants' access to benefits. The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are also increasing the low VAT rate from 6 percent to 9 percent, RTL Nieuws reports.
The new Dutch cabinet - Rutte III - will have three more Ministers than the current one, according to the Telegraaf. That will bring the total number of Ministers up to 16.
According to the newspapers, the new Ministers will be for Immigration and Integration, Climate Affairs, and Agriculture. Exactly what these portfolios will hold, is still being negotiated in the formation talks between the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie.
A number of immigrants in the Netherlands who previously passed a state exam for integration, were surprised by two extra tests they need to pass before getting an indefinite residency permit, the Volkskrant reported on Monday. The foundation for refugee students UAF received multiple complaints about this over the summer.
The Netherlands' integration policy "failed miserably", according to Hague alderman Rabin Baldewsingh (PvdA). His efforts to get this issue on the national government's agenda are continually unsuccessful, so he decided to launch his own integration program in The Hague, he said in an interview with the Volkskrant.
On Tuesday the Dutch Senate voted in a legislative amendment which states that all immigrants to the Netherlands must sign a pledge to uphold and support Dutch values as part of their integration exam. This amendment to the Integration Law will take effect on October 1st, the Ministry of Social Affairs announced.
Due to an error at the immigration and naturalization service IND, between 2 thousand and 3 thousand immigrants were mistakenly exempted from taking the integration exam, State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff said in a letter to the Tweede Kamer on Thursday. Their residency permits were also upgraded from valid for a limited time, to valid for an unlimited time.
The mistake has to do with new rules that were implemented for exemption from the exam as of January 1st, 2015. The stricter rules were not applied to everyone who asked for exemption.
Amsterdam is investing millions into better managing the ever increasing number of people in the city, both residents and visitors, and into improving quality of life in the city, Finance alderman Udo Kock announced with the publication of the city's budget plans for 2017.
There are many problems with the integration exam immigrants have to pass if they want to get their Dutch passport, language schools, teachers of Dutch as a second language ant the NT2 professional association said to newspaper Trouw. This results in many immigrants struggling to integrate into Dutch society, according to the language teachers.
The people of the Netherlands aren't very optimistic about society and the future of the country, according a quarterly report by social and cultural planning office SCP. The Dutch are mostly concerned about immigration, integration, intolerance and that society is growing harsher. They are positive about the economy however, RTL Nieuws.
The SCP did this survey early this year, before the parliamentary election on March 15th.
"You can't say that integration failed", Jeroen Dijsselbloem, current Finance Minister and number three on the PvdA candidate list, said on radio program Dit is de Dag on Thursday.
According to Dijsselbloem, "a lot of things went well" when it comes to integration. "Go look in the lecture halls in big cities. They are now filled with children from an immigration background", he said.
He agrees that the naturalization process could go smoother. He thinks it should be more mandatory and that all the responsibility can not be left to the immigrants.
The Dutch government should reinstate regular meetings with consultative bodies for ethnic minority groups, according to a study by Van de Bunt advisers on behalf of Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs. Abolishing these meetings led to the fast decline of the dense network of representative members of ethnic communities and means that the government is less sufficient in reacting to rising social tensions, the report concludes, according to the Volkskrant.
The VVD wants more stringent integration requirements in the Netherlands including a total ban on face covering clothing, like burkas and balaclavas, in public. Wearing face covering clothing makes it more difficult for you to openly meet and greet each other, VVD parliamentarian Malik Azmani emphasizes in a broad integration agenda the ruling party is presenting on Thursday, Het Parool reports.
Schools in the Netherlands need major improvements in their integration education, according to the Education Inspectorate, ANP reports.
According to the Inspectorate, Dutch schools are failing wit attempts to teach students about typical Dutch values, despite the fact that schools are required to pay attention to what it means to be a citizen of the Netherlands. Dutch schools' attempts to do so are too unfocused - activities seem unrelated to each other, there is no systematic approach and schools don't formulate what they want to teach their students.
Many teachers in the Netherlands feel they have to avoid talking about sensitive topics such as sexual orientation and religion in their classrooms, according to a study by DUO. So-called Islamization and terrorist organization ISIS in particular are topics to be avoided. The teachers blame failed integration for this, ANP reports.
Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, united under G4, want to take back control over the integration process. The four large Dutch cities believe that customization is needed for integration to go smoothly, and that is impossible while the process is in the control of the national government, ANP reports.