13 February 2013
Amsterdam’s city council will stop using the terminology “autochtoon” and “allochtoon” to identify citizens. “Allochtoon” refers to first or second generation migrants, as well as third generation Dutch with at least one grandparent who is an immigrant. In colloquial discourse “allochtoon” refers to those of non-western ethnic heritage and “autochtoon” to autochthnous or ethnic Dutch. The council is eradicating the term on the basis that it promotes a division between “them and us”. With the change, a “foreign Amsterdammer” will now be defined as someone born abroad, or whose parents were born abroad. This is not the first attempt to shift the use of the problematic terminology, which is prolific not only in Amsterdam’s city council but throughout the nation and in popular discourse.
8 May 2012
A report to the Dutch parliament from the advisory group on social development (RMO) has recommended the cessation of categorizing residents according to ethnicity and parental birth places, advising instead that only the birth place of the individual concerned be taken into record. The report advocates the elimination of terms such as niet-westerse allochtoon (non-western non-native) which signal heritage as ‘non-native’ for those with a parent born abroad. In response, integration minister Gerd Leers said that he favoured maintaining ethnic registration for the purposes of measuring the effect of government measures, such as interventions in employment and education.
31 January 2012
Immigration minister Geerd Leers has called for elimination of the term allochtoon, a designation connoting “non-native” and widely \applied in popular use to describe non-western immigrants (particularly from Turkey and Morocco) and their children, up to third generation. Leers commented in a magazine interview, “I want people born in the Netherlands to be called Dutch, plain and simple… I can understand why people who give themselves 100% to society ask themselves why they are being dismissed in such a derogatory way.” Telegraaf reports that Leers’ position is notable, contrasting that of the PVV party in alliance with the minority cabinet, which aims to broaden the scope of the term.
The integration of immigrants into Dutch society is improving but segregation is increasing in some neighbourhoods and in schools, integration minister Eberhard van der Laan told MPs on Tuesday. The minister (Labour) sent an annual report with integration statistics and a letter with the government’s vision to parliament.
Claiming immigrants should have the desire to participate in society and speak the language, van der Laan envisions more effort to encourage older immigrants to take integration courses. And in education, efforts will be made to decrease segregation in schools, by using double waiting lists, changing registration procedures and better information for parents.
Throughout his speech and the accompanying documents, Van der Laan used the words nieuwe (new) Nederlanders to describe immigrants, rather than allochtoon (alien). Dutch News reports that he did so because “using allochtoon refers to your origins. Nieuwe Nederlander shows you belong in the Netherlands”.