Elderly exemptions - is Dutch integration policy too strict?

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

Should elderly immigrants be exempt from integration policy? 

In 2007, a new Integration Act came into effect in the Netherlands, requiring that anyone without a permanent residence permit must pass an integration exam. But should older immigrants – some of whom have lived here for decades – still be bound to the naturalisation exam?


The Amsterdam Advisory Board on Diversity and Integration recently published a report on the urban integration policy. The conclusion? That the policy had gone too far because of the hardened political debate on integration.

The report said that 'oldcomers' but also young, highly-educated immigrants should not be required to go through the naturalisation process. The advisory board said the large influx of integration students following the new legislation has been to a waste of money and effort.