Netherlands: The trouble of remigrating

Mohammed Chaara moved back to Morocco in 1994, hoping the warm weather would help his back. He could take along his disability insurance, but he gave up his Dutch citizenship.

What he didn't take into account was the adjustment problems of his kids. They did not like life in Morocco, they were less free and could not adjust to the filth and chaos in the streets and in the shops. Above all they were furious when they discovered that teachers could hit students in school.

Omar, the eldest, barely spoke Arabic, had little contact and felt as an outsider. Fatima, the eldest daughter married a Dutch-Moroccan and now lives again in Amsterdam. However, Omar, now 30, is unemployed in Morocco. It is hard to find a job and he spends his time hanging around aimlessly.

Omar speeks fluent Dutch and was in school in the Netherlands from the age of 4 to 17. Now Chaara would like to know whether Omar could go back to the Netherlands. For that he traveled to the help center for remigrants (Stichting Steunpunt Remigranten, SSR).

The help-center has heard many such stories. Parents with school age children always have problems. The transition is too great. Their advice: if you plan to remigrate is to do so when the kids are small or once they're out of the house.

The total number of remigrants has gone up slightly since 2000 with 1605 people in 2004 and 1981 in 2005. In order not to have to give up their Dutch passport many choose to commute, spending a few months in the Netherlands, then a few months in Morocco.

Men seem to miss their homeland more than women. Women fear that in Morocco they would lose the freedom they have in the Netherlands. Above all, they wish to stay close to their children and grandchildren.

There's another office of the SSR in Berkane. The area is home to many Dutch-Moroccans. Every summer you can see families going to their second home in the stuffy streets of north-east Morocco.

The support center for remigrants was founded in 1989 on the intiative of the Council of Churches working together with the Roman Catholic archbishop in Morocco and currently has two workers - Cynthia Plette and Mohamed Sayem.

Sayem and Plette advise remigrants about social-legal questions (about 3500 a year) and maintain contact with Dutch authorities. The SSR will also like to contribute to the development of North-east Morocco. Building a civil society is the watchword.

In Berkane itself there is not much to see, but 18 kilometer northword is the spa city of Seidia. In the summer many European Moroccan come the enjoy their vacation their, including scantily clad girls and fashion conscious boys. They share the beach with men and women who are covered from head to toe.

A few years ago the local population could not take the advancing immorality any longer. One day about 1000 djellaba wearing men walked to the beach, kneeled towards Mecca and prayed. Their message was: this is our beach.

Source: Vrij Nederland (Dutch)


ZZ said...

oh, my. really scary content

Anonymous said...


I hope they make a TRIUMPHAL CHRISTMAS !!!

They're Christians, so...

…they can be heroes…

…as the mithic Ethiopian demigod hero Menmon, who fought in Trojan War.