Vietnamese people in the Netherlands

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Vietnamese people in the Netherlands
Vietnamezen in Nederland
Total population
(21,435 (2016)[[1])
Regions with significant populations
Helmond, Almere, Purmerend, Hoorn, Harlingen, Leeuwarden, Spijkenisse
Vietnamese, Dutch[2]
Mahayana Buddhism,[3][4] Roman Catholicism[5]
Related ethnic groups
Overseas Vietnamese

Vietnamese people in the Netherlands form one of the smaller overseas Vietnamese communities of Europe. They consist largely of refugees from the former South Vietnam, and their descendants.


The first Vietnamese boat people arrived in the Netherlands in 1977.[6]

In the early 1990s, after the fall of communist regimes all over Central and Eastern Europe, a group of about 400 Vietnamese—formerly guest workers in Czechoslovakia—fled to the Netherlands and sought asylum there.[7] By May 1992, 300 still remained. The Vietnamese government, although it saw the asylum-seekers as guilty of a crime for having fled, offered assurances to the Dutch government that they would suffer no discrimination if repatriated.[8]

Demographic characteristics[edit]

As of 2009, statistics of the Dutch Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek showed:

  • 11,960 Vietnamese-born persons (5,623 men, 6,337 women)
  • 6,955 locally born persons of Vietnamese background (3,534 men, 3,421 women), of which:
    • 1,027 persons with one parent also born locally (524 men, 503 women)
    • 5,928 persons with both parents born abroad (3,010 men, 2,918 women)

For a total of 18,915 persons (9,157 men, 9,758 women). This represented 46% growth over the 1996 total of 12,937 persons. Most of the growth was in the locally born segment of the population, whose numbers more than doubled from 3,366 persons over the period in question; the number of Vietnamese-born showed more modest growth of 25%, from 9,571 persons.[1]


A part of Vietnamese people in the Netherlands are Buddhists. Pagode Van Hanh is one of the official Vietnamese Buddhist temples in the Netherlands.[4][9] The temple is situated in Nederhorst den Berg, a small village in Utrecht. The temple is from the association Stichting Vietnamese Boeddhistische Samenwerking Nederland. Around thousand Vietnamese families are named as members.

The two first parishes aimed at the Netherlands' Vietnamese Catholic community, the Allochtonen Missie van de Heilige Martelaren van Vietnam in Amersfoort and the Allochtonen Missie van de Heilige Moeder Maria in Deventer, were set up in 1994; at that time, there were estimated to be roughly 3,000 Vietnamese Catholics in the country.[5]

Health issues[edit]

Of the first 541 Vietnamese refugees who arrived in the Netherlands, 16.6% tested positive for the presence of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg).[10] Intestinal parasites were also common.[11]




  • Bänffer, JR (1982), "Markers of hepatitis B in a group of Vietnamese boat-refugees in the Netherlands", Trop Geogr Med, 34 (3): 251–5, PMID 7179464 
  • Bänffer, JR; van Knapen, F (July 1982), "Intestinal parasites in Vietnamese boat people in the Netherlands", Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd, 126 (31): 1395–8, PMID 7133173 
  • Truong, Van Binh (1993), "Vietnamese", in Extra, Guus; Verhoeven, Ludo, Community Languages in the Netherlands, European Studies on Multilingualism, Taylor and Francis, pp. 301–18, ISBN 978-90-265-1360-2 
  • Population by origin and generation, 1 January, The Hague: Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, 2009-03-11, retrieved 2009-03-25 

Further reading[edit]

  • van der Hoeven, Erik; de Kort, Henk (1984), Reception and care of Unaccompanied Vietnamese Minors in the Netherlands, 1975 - 1984 - A Special Report, The Hague: Coördinatiecommissie Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Kinderbescherming 
  • Meijer, Marijke (1990), Meeroeien met de bochten en de stromingen in de rivier: een onderzoek naar Vietnamese vrouwen in Nederland/Rowing with the Bends and Currents of the River: An Investigation into the Position of Vietnamese Women in the Netherlands, Amsterdam: Vluchtelingenwerk, ISBN 978-90-6937-012-5