Moroccans in the Netherlands

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Moroccans in the Netherlands
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Total population
391,088[1] (2017) 2.2% of the Dutch population
Regions with significant populations
Predominantly Randstad (70%), Noord-Brabant and Limburg (16%)
Berber (85%), Moroccan Arabic (15%),[2] Dutch
Predominantly Islam (95%)[3]
Minority: Nonreligious (4%), Christianity (1%)[4][5]

Moroccans in the Netherlands (also known as Dutch-Moroccans or Moroccan-Dutch) are immigrants from Morocco to the Netherlands and their descendants.[6][7]

Migration history[edit]

Moroccans were not much represented in the first major postwar wave of migration to the Netherlands from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, which consisted mostly of people from the Netherlands' former colonies. However, they began to show up in large numbers during the second wave; between 1965 and 1973, one hundred thousand Turks and Moroccans came to the Netherlands, and a further 170,000 from 1974 to 1986.[8] Earlier arrivals consisted of "guest workers", whose recruitment and admission was governed by a bilateral treaty signed in 1969.[9] From the 1970s, the number arriving under family reunification schemes became more significant.[10] Around half originated from the mountainous Rif region.[2]

According to the Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau [nl] annual report, marriages in 2001 between Moroccan immigrants and native Dutch were rare, accounting for only 5% of marriages. A 90% share of the marriages were to the same ethnic group and 2/3 of the spouse was a "marriage migrant" from the country of origin.[11] Since stricter legislation was adopted in 2004, marriage immigration has decreased considerably.[citation needed]

Demographic characteristics[edit]

As of 2009, statistics of the Dutch Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek with regards to people of Moroccan origin showed:

  • 166,774 persons of first-generation background (88,084 men, 78,690 women)
  • 174,754 persons of second-generation background (88,563 men, 86,191 women), of which:
    • 23,255 persons with one parent born in the Netherlands (11,911 men, 11,344 women)
    • 151,499 persons with both parents born outside of the Netherlands (76,652 men, 74,847 women)

For a total of 353,987 persons (176,647 men, 164,881 women). This represented roughly 51% growth over the 1996 total of 225,088 persons. The population has shown an annual increase since then.[12]

As of 2011, 16% of male youths under 25 years of age in Amsterdam is Dutch-Moroccan.[13]


In 2005 according to the Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau annual report, most of the first-generation Moroccan migrants had a very low level of education with many of them had little or no schooling at all. In addition to these, many of the Moroccan "marriage migrants" who arrived in the Netherlands by marrying an immigrant already living in the country as well as the 'in-between-generation' which arrived while aged 6-18 have a low education. An outcome of this circumstance is a poor command of the Dutch language among these groups.[11]

While almost half of Dutch and Iranian origin pupils attend higher secondary education (Hoger algemeen voortgezet onderwijs or havo) or pre-university education (Voorbereidend wetenschappelijk onderwijs or vwo), only a fifth of Moroccan pupils did so in 2005.[11]

Crime rate[edit]

In 2015, individuals with a Moroccan background were roughly five times as likely to have been suspected of a crime compared to the native Dutch: 4.64% to 0.83% (the ratio has not been standardised for age). Of the first generation 2.5% was a crime suspect and of the second generation 7.4%, of all males almost 7.8% and women 1.34%. For Moroccans aged 18-25, one in ten have been suspected of a crime. For non-Western immigrants in general, the second generation has a higher crime rate than the first generation. The crime rate for Dutch as well as immigrants from a number of non-Western countries almost halved in the 2005-2015 period.[14]

Population centers[edit]

Significant population centers (2013)[citation needed]
City Population %
Amsterdam 72,500 9.0%
Rotterdam 41,200 6.7%
The Hague 28,900 5.7%
Utrecht 28,600 8.9%
Almere 7,300 3.7%
Gouda 6,800 9.6%
Eindhoven 5,900 2.7%
Tilburg 5,700 2.7%
Breda 5,500 3.1%
Leiden 5,300 4.4%
Den Bosch 4,700 3.3%
Helmond 3,800 4.3%
Zeist 3,400 5.5%
Venlo 3,100 3.1%
Weert 2,100 4.3%
Culemborg 2,000 7.2%
Netherlands 370,000 2.2%


"I know my friends from the street," a 2002 Verweij-Jonker Institute report on leisure time of Dutch Turks and Dutch Moroccans, stated that Dutch Moroccans tend to make few new contacts from the street, tend to spend leisure time with members of the same ethnicity and sex, and have leisure activities heavily influenced by "Moroccan culture".[15] Frank Buijs did a 1993 study of young Moroccan men in the Netherlands. He found that young men prefer attending "Moroccan parties" over other types of parties since they are able to meet other Moroccans and consider the parties to be "fun".[16]

Trees Pels' 1982 literature study of Dutch-Turks and Dutch-Moroccans concluded that, of both groups, due to socio-cultural factors, girls "infrequently" participated in leisure activities.[16]

In the 1990s, several organizations were established to encourage and promote Dutch Moroccan cultural productions. In 1996 Hassan Bousetta concluded that the Dutch Moroccan community received little support from the Dutch government in some of its artistic and cultural expressions. Bousetta concluded that, in the words of Miriam Gazzah, author of "Rhythms and Rhymes of Life: Music and Identification Processes of Dutch-Moroccan Youth," "the state's policy aimed at political emancipation of Moroccans obstructed rather than promoted the production of new or innovative cultural and artistic developments."[16]

LGBT-related attitudes[edit]

Laurens Buijs, Gert Hekma, and Jan Willem Duyvendak, authors of the 2011 article ‘As long as they keep away from me’: The paradox of antigay violence in a gay-friendly country, explained that members of three ethnic groups, Dutch-Moroccans, Dutch-Antilleans, and Dutch-Turks, "are less accepting towards homosexuality, also when controlled for gender, age, level of education and religiosity."[17]

Police records reveal that perpetrators of anti-gay violence in Amsterdam are as often native Dutch as they are Dutch-Moroccan, but Buijs et al. said Dutch-Moroccans "are over-represented as suspects" because 16% of male youth under 25 are Dutch-Moroccan compared to 39% of male youth under 25 being native Dutch.[13] The Party for Freedom (PVV) had stated that "The perpetrators of antigay violence in the big cities are almost always Muslims, almost always Moroccans."[13] Buijs et al. say that overrepresentation of Dutch-Moroccans in statistics of antigay violence recorded by Dutch police is not primarily caused by their religion but "more likely the result of their low social-economic position, combined with the fact that their family networks are less tight, and their upbringing less strict, than for example those of Dutch-Turks."[18] Buijs et al. say that the lack of tight family networks and the more lax upbringing "draws the Dutch-Moroccans, more often than youngsters from other groups, away from their homes and schools to public spaces, where they learn to live according to the tough and hyper-masculine codes of the culture of the street."[18]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^,137,237&D6=0,4,9,14,20-21&HDR=G2,G1,G3,T&STB=G4,G5&VW=T
  2. ^ a b Gazzah 2008, p. 12
  3. ^ Er zijn minder moslims in Nederland, maar de overgebleven groep wordt steeds orthodoxer Archived 2018-07-18 at the Wayback Machine 'There are less Muslims in the Netherlands, but the remaining group is becoming more orthodox', Trouw, 8 juni 2018
  4. ^ Er zijn minder moslims in Nederland, maar de overgebleven groep wordt steeds orthodoxer Archived 2018-07-18 at the Wayback Machine 'There are less Muslims in the Netherlands, but the remaining group is becoming more orthodox', Trouw, 8 juni 2018
  5. ^ Religious identification of the Moroccan-Dutch community in the Netherlands in 2015*
  6. ^ Gazzah 2008, p. 11
  7. ^ Dibbits 2007, p. 11
  8. ^ Dibbits 2007, p. 14
  9. ^ El Bardaï 2003, p. 322
  10. ^ El Bardaï 2003, p. 327
  11. ^ a b c "Jaarrapport Integratie 2005 - SCP Summary". (in Dutch). p. 2–4. Archived from the original on 16 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  12. ^ CBS 2009; the year 1996 is the earliest for which statistics are available online
  13. ^ a b c Buijs, et al., p. 634.
  14. ^ Annual Report on Integration 2016 (PDF). The Hague: Statistics Netherlands. 2016. pp. 14–15. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 May 2018.
  15. ^ Gazzah, p. 34.
  16. ^ a b c Gazzah, p. 33.
  17. ^ Buijs, et al., p. 648.
  18. ^ a b Buijs, et al., p. 642-643.
  19. ^ Wanders, John, "Aboutaleb burgemeester Rotterdam", De Volkskrant (in Dutch), retrieved 11 November 2009
  20. ^ Dibbits 2007, p. 16
  21. ^ "K1-vechter Badr Hari wil 'als gigant terugkeren'", 25 November 2010, Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch)


Further reading[edit]