Canadians of Dutch descent

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Dutch Canadian
Nederlandse Canadezen
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Total population
1,067,245 (2011 Census)
Regions with significant populations
Ontario, Western Canada, Atlantic Canada, Quebec
Canadian English, Canadian French, Dutch, Frisian, Limburgish
Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, secularism
Related ethnic groups
Dutch people, Dutch American, Dutch Brazilian, Dutch Surinamese, Afrikaner, English Canadian, French Canadian, German Canadian, Belgian Canadian

Dutch Canadians are any Canadian citizens of Dutch ancestry. According to the Canada 2006 Census, there are 1,035,965 Canadians of Dutch descent, including those of full or partial ancestry.


The first Dutch people to come to Canada were Dutch-Americans among the United Empire Loyalists. The largest wave was in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when large numbers of Dutch helped settle the Canadian west. During this period significant numbers also settled in major cities like Toronto. While interrupted by the First World War this migration returned in the 1920s, but again halted during the Great Depression and Second World War. After World War II a large number of Dutch immigrants moved to Canada, including a number of war brides of the Canadian soldiers who liberated the Netherlands. There were officially 1886 Dutch war brides to Canada, ranking second after British war brides.[1] During the war Canada had sheltered Crown Princess Juliana and her family. The annual Canadian Tulip Festival held in May commemorates her with a generous number of tulips coming from The Netherlands. Due to these close links Canada became a popular destination for Dutch immigrants. The Canadian government encouraged this, recruiting skilled workers. This post-war wave went mainly to urban centres such as Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver. With the economic recovery of the Netherlands in the post-war years immigration to Canada slowed.

While one of the largest minority groups in Canada, Dutch Canadians have tended to rapidly assimilate and there are relatively few Dutch Canadian organizations and media. One important institution is the Christian Reformed Church in North America, with most congregations found throughout Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario. The Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, The King's University College in Edmonton, and Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario are associated with this Dutch Reformed/Calvinist denomination. Christian Schools International, the Christian Labour Association of Canada, and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario are organizations with strong Dutch-Canadian roots.

Dutch Canadians, because of their shared cultural and religious heritage, tend to form tight-knit communities. This has led to an in-joke known as Dutch Bingo [4], where it is said that a Dutch Canadian is able to figure out his/her connection to another Dutch Canadian by asking questions about the other's last name, town of birth, church and the college they attended.

Notable Canadians of Dutch descent[edit]


Arts and Entertainment[edit]



Politics and Civil Service[edit]

  • Michael Chong (1971 - ) Conservative MP Wellington-Halton Hills
  • Roméo Dallaire (1946 - ), former Liberal Senator, humanitarian, author, UN peacekeeper and Canadian Forces Lieutenant-General[5]
  • Simon De Jong (1942-2011) former federal Saskatchewan NDP MP
  • Rick Dykstra (1966 - ) Conservative MP St. Catharines since 2006 and Parliamentary Secretary
  • John Gerretsen (1942 - ) former Mayor of Kingston, Ontario, former Ontario MPP and provincial cabinet minister
  • Samuel Holland (1728–1801) Royal Engineer and first Surveyor General of British North America
  • John Oostrom (1930 - ) first Dutch born Progressive Conservative MP for Willowdale[6]
  • Case Ootes - former city councillor in Toronto. He served as deputy mayor under Mayor Mel Lastman and represents one of the two Toronto—Danforth wards.
  • Egerton Ryerson (1803-1882) Methodist minister, public education advocate, Chief Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada
  • Peter Stoffer (1956 - ) NDP MP Sackville-Eastern Shore
  • Bill Vander Zalm (1934 - ) former Mayor of Surrey, BC Social Credit MLA and entrepreneur in British Columbia, Canada. He was the 28th Premier of British Columbia from 1986 to 1991[7]
  • Elizabeth Witmer (1946 - ) former Progressive Conservative MPP, Ontario cabinet minister and Chair of Workplace Safety & Insurance Board of Ontario
  • John van Dongen Abbotsford, British Columbia Liberal MLA, since 1995.
  • Mike de Jong Abbotsford, British Columbia Liberal MLA, since 1994.
  • Fred Eisenberger (1952- ) former Ward Alderman and Mayor of Hamilton, Ontario


  • Evert van Benthem (1958 - ), speed skater, won the Elfstedentocht in 1985 and 1986
  • Petra Burka (1946 - ) Olympic figure skater[8]
  • Karl Dykhuis (1972- ) Ice hockey player; first cousin of Mark Brodwin (1974 - ) astrophysicist.
  • Adam van Koeverden (1982 - ) Olympic gold medalist in K-1 500 m. His last name relates him to the Dutch city of Coevorden
  • Trevor Linden (1970 - ) ice hockey player in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Vancouver Canucks
  • Dwight Lodeweges (1957 - ) footballer and coach
  • Joe Nieuwendyk (1966 - ) ice hockey player in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Florida Panthers
  • Beorn Nijenhuis (1984 - ) speed skater, who represents the Netherlands at the 2006 Winter Olympics[9]
  • Ingrid Poelman (1969 - ) judoka, won gold at the 1986 Canadian Judo Championship
  • John van 't Schip (1963 - ) footballer
  • Eric Staal (1984 - ) ice hockey player in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Carolina Hurricanes
  • Jordan Staal (1988 - ) ice hockey player in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Carolina Hurricanes
  • Marc Staal (1987 - ) ice hockey player in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the New York Rangers
  • Jared Staal (1990 - ) ice hockey player in the American Hockey League (AHL) for the Charlotte Checkers
  • Bruce Timmermans ( - 1999) activist cyclist and founder of Citizens for Safe Cycling Ottawa [10]
  • Kelly VanderBeek (1983 - ) Alpine Skier
  • Mike Vanderjagt (1970 - ) the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Played for the Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys.
  • Greg de Vries (1973 - ) Ice hockey player
  • Steve Yzerman (1965 - ) retired NHL player for the Detroit Red Wings
  • Dan Hamhuis (1982 - ) ice hockey player in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Vancouver Canucks, formerly for the Nashville Predators

See also[edit]



Web sites[edit]