Rotterdam: Immigrant youth stay 'immigrants'

Immigrants can integrate as much as they want, they will still stay "that immigrant". This is the most important results of a large-scale study of Turkish, Moroccan and ethnic Dutch youth in Rotterdam.

Professor Han Entzinger of Erasmus University in Rotterdam met the lamentation often during his study: Moroccan and Turkish youth who say, 'when will I now finally finish with integrating?'

The results of Entzinger's study is that Turkish and Moroccan youth integrate more and more, but that the chasm between ethnic Dutch youth grows regardless. Immigrants remain unchanging positive of ethnic Dutch, but in the opposite direction immigrants are seen more and more often in a negative light, especially Moroccan youth.

Nationalism markedly increased among ethnic Dutch youth. In 1999 10% said they were willing to defend Dutch identity if it was being crushed. In 2006 the percentage tripled.

Ethnic Dutch youth want their immigrant colleagues to adapt more. Entzinger: "In other words, they raise the bar still higher. Language fluency is a good example of that. More knowledge of Dutch is required." He says though that the crazy thing is that not much is added if you ask them to be more specific about what adapting means.

Just like ethnic Dutch youth, immigrant youth in Rotterdam emphasize their own identity since the attacks of 9/11 and the murder of Van Gogh and Pim Fortuyn. Especially Moroccan youth are becoming more intensively believers. In 1999, 40% of Moroccan youth strictly followed the rules of Islam, seven years later that grew to 60%. A similar movement is presented when it comes to adaptation. In 1999, a quarter of Moroccans thought they don't need to adapt, and now that went up to 40%.

Ethnic Dutch as well as immigrant youth agree that opportunities for Turkish and Moroccan youth have decreased the past few years.

Rector Steven Lambers of Erasmus University in Rotterdam had noticed that too. Though immigrants go to university more often (currently 4,000 of 20,000 students) their first job is often at a lower level.

Meanwhile, Turkish and Moroccan youth integrate more and more. Their educational level is yet lower than their ethnic Dutch colleagues, but the they're in the process of catching up. They're a member of a sports club more often, and thanks to free newspapers such as Spits and Metro, they read the newspapers more often.

For counsellors Kaya (integration), that's a reason for optimism. At the same time he says in reaction to the study that he's concerned about the tensions between the different ethnic groups in Rotterdam. He says not to give immigrants the constant feeling that they must pass tests. At a certain moment tell them they simply belong.

Source: AD (Dutch)

See also: Why are there still all those questions?, Rotterdam: Moroccans often feel discriminated, Netherlands: Immigrants should stop living split lives

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