Discrimination in the Job Market: the Dutch government is cracking down

Employers in the Netherlands will soon be fined for discrimination in the job market. Here is more on this growing issue in Holland.

Discrimination in the job market in the Netherlands

Dutch employers will soon be fined if they do not hire an applicant based on their ethnic background, age or gender. This is stated in the new legislative proposal by State Secretary Van Ark. The aim of her proposal is to tackle discrimination on the labor market in the Netherlands.

The Inspectorate of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) will have to keep an eye on discrimination at companies, as well as employment agencies. Employment agencies will now have to make sure that certain groups of people are not deliberately excluded from their hiring process.

According to Van Ark, employers must implement policies to prevent discrimination in their recruitment and selection process. “It is very important that a youngster who does his best to get work, notices that it does not matter what his surname is”, says the State Secretary for Social Affairs.

Types of discrimination in the job market

So far, DutchReview has covered multiple instances where racism and discrimination in the Netherlands has become apparent. For example, research shows that currently there is ongoing name discrimination happening in Holland. Results show that the job application of someone with a non-Dutch-sounding surname is opened 9 percent less than someone with a Dutch-sounding name.

Van Ark further emphasizes that job applicants should only be judged on their qualities. For example, a well-functioning pregnant woman can not be refused a fixed contract “with an excuse”, says Van Ark. She believes that everyone should be able to participate in work, regardless of age, background, gender, sexual orientation or disability. Her statement comes just months after the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (College voor de Rechten van de Mens) declared it received a record number of complaints last year.

Van Ark says that discrimination sometimes happens deliberately, but more often unconsciously. That is why she also wants to increase knowledge about pay discrimination in women, pregnancy discrimination, age discrimination, discrimination against people with disabilities and discrimination in ethnic background.

However, while this proposal is much needed, companies and hiring agencies can still reject people based on discriminatory views. The hiring managers can always give different reasons for why they didn’t hire a specific candidate, and conceal the truth. We have yet to see how this new legislation will be implemented and monitored.

How do you feel about the current discrimination in the job market in the Netherlands? Have you experienced it yourself? Let us know in the comments below!

Veronika Licheva
Veronika Licheva
Living the short girl life in the land of giants. Veronika is a content creator who takes great interest in video, photography, and journalism. Her mission in The Netherlands is to build a vibrant and exciting career, while simultaneously petting as many dogs as possible.


  1. I am commenting here anonymously so that I am not stamped as evil. The amount of discrimination in the Dutch work market is extremely high. This does not mean that Dutch firms are inefficient. The Nazi Germany was also very effectieve. It is not in any way justified to compare the two but in the efficiency trap is there. The women, the easterners, the black, sounding foreign all are discriminating. The ministry will do nothing about discrimination but if you talk about this you would be further excluded from the workforce. Welcome to “discrimination” tolerant Netherlands.

  2. Discrimination based on nationality is so apparent in the Netherlands that several companies and agencies do not even try to hide it. There is an unwritten HR policy in some companies, like Philips and ASML just to name a few, which prevents some Nationalities to be considered at all. I was informed by an agency that “ASML Company is positive about your resume but unfortunately they don’t hire Engineers with Iraqi passport holders!” even though I have Dutch work permit.
    As it is mentioned in this article, many recruiters rejected me with some phony excuses without providing objective feedback.

    • It is true Dutch are highly racist they don’t look to the skills but backgroud and nationality, look at the people linked to the companies via Linkedin all of them are Dutch-Dutch no think else.

      • By the way ASML, DAMEN, PHILIPS, and others I know these companies the discrimination are very high based on the nationality. Dutch are racist in their blood, in their nature.

    • Yes the discrimination of the dutch companies is very high; Damen, Philips, ASML, and others. Look to the composition of the companies and you understund they are looking for Dutch origin peoples.

  3. The Dutch multiculturalism and tolerance policy is not reflected in the job market. I think that Dutch employers who discriminate do it mostly because they are not used having employees with different ethnic and cultural background on the work floor but also, are afraid you are not able to adapt to the dominant Dutch native culture. I am a native Dutch speaker with a migration background (allochtoon) and I can confirm discrimination is still a big issue even when you speak Dutch fluently. This does not only apply to paid jobs but also to internships. You have to try harder (what’s new?) but most of all, have to become more creative. Although you can’t change your ethnic background, you can make your CV/motivation letter more neutral by, for instance, not mentioning your place of birth if this is not necessary for the position. You do not have to mention your nationality either. Your CV is not your passport! In my opinion, the only way of having control over discrimination when applying for a job, is to find unique ways to make your letter and CV stand out, make it interesting for your future employer to, at least, invite you.

  4. I highly recommend everyone applying for employment within the Netherlands modify their name on their CV only , to refelect and conform to the egocentric Dutch discrimination agenda . For example , Italian applicants with a name like Luigi Maccavelli become …. Lu Van der Maack. Or a muslim name like Abdullah Ramadan Bashmullah becomes …. Aart Raam Rijnbock. Moving along to even the score with the maligned Asian community of applicants : Rajendra Raamdeo Patel becomes ….
    Rembrandt Van Rijn. Priyanka Vamedra becomes….. Paul Vermeer . Are you a much hated German trying to escape the clutches of post communist oppression by landing a job as a physicist with A**holes in Amsterdam? Hit the auto correct and go from Joachim Von Goebbels to ….” Joost Van Gogh “. You really can’t go wrong with pinching Dutch artist names since that is the only thing the Dutch have really been known for , except cheese . Saddled with the unfortunate burden of hailing from the USA with a name like Ted Brown ? Get your soaking wet canal smelling foot in the door by modifying to Thijs Edam Boudewijin , and do your tuition paying parents a solid by being only one of the rare .005% of foreigners to be employed on a sinking mass of land being encroached upon by the Sea . Then be sure to leave your Turban , Burkha, Yamaka or MAGA hat in your briefcase before showing up to the interview . Together with a bit of creativity , the international community of professional job candidates can drag the Milque Toast Netherlands kicking and screaming into the Global 21st Century .

  5. I have an Indian nationality and even after I did my masters from Tu, I still evidentially see racism in Dutch Job market. It is very unfortunate to experience this. Me and my other non Dutch colleague are very pissed by this.

  6. Pretty much as above comments , i,ven been here now 4 years and it really is a sad state of affairs , if you speak no dutch they wont employ you until your A 2 if your A2 they wont employ you until your B1/2 (WHEN YOUR B1 /2 WHICH TAKES SOME TWO YEARS IF YOUR GOING FROM SCRATCH THEY WILL SAY C 1) Now s i said i have been here 4 years and i have yet to meet any one who has a C 1 certificate . Also the name thing is 100% right as I am married to a dutch citizen as Dhr xxxxxx I get treated as a dutch person , but if i use my own family name im an outcast .
    So much for all this freedom in a place full of archaic nonsense and fraudulent politics , miss reported news and lies . This feels now more of a third world country and ive lived and worked in enough of those in the past . So in short to get hired here and get on the best thing to do it seems is lie about your name , dumb your credentials down and keep your mouth shut as dutch firms only like to hire people dumber than the boss who wont rock the boat . sad but true .

  7. Dutch racism is currently at its peak in these years. Have been working in a Dutch company for the past two years and the level of discrimination and racism in this business is outrageous. We have employees insulting and making fun of other fellow employees who had to escape their country due to wars. They are picked upon and laughed about like it’s normal for them. Moreover, it is constant practice in regards to discrimination to nationalities that many nationalities are labelled by default as cheaters and thiefs. It’s actually ridiculous how racist this country can be. The best part is that once you highlight these issues in the business, managers hide it and take no action to solve or remove the problem, they advise the employee not to do it again and carry on as if nothing ever happened. So to explain, a colleague of mine was referenced as a refugee woman while made fun of, and instead of reporting to the correct parties in the company, this was hidden and no consequence was ever actioned. On the other hand, when I asked to be assisted by HR and after days I wasn’t getting any support I wrote an email mentioning that I expected support as I was too an employee. The HR supervisor immediately blamed me for aggressiveness and added this to my personal file in the business. So requesting support and expecting a reply and support by a responsible party is aggressive, but racist mocking is absolutely fine and has no consequence. Honestly, after 8 years in this shit hole, I’m disgusted by Dutch, their small mindness and lack of any sort of responsibility and accountability. It’s ridiculous. If you are thinking to work in the Netherlands, do not! It will be hell! You will be mistreated and mocked on a constant basis, not mentioning the fact that Dutch employees are never accountable, and you will be for their mistakes, because as an international you must control that they do their job right. Not that they check themselves and control themselves, we have to do it. I say, WOW! Complete ignorance. I truly hope this country burns.

  8. Yeah in the current company I am working they gave me a phony excuse that I can not be hired as permanent worker because I am not fluent in Dutch. However my other qualifications match, as I have a master’s degree and I have more experience on the field. The person they hired does not have a university, does not have experience in the area, and their person’s level of English is quite low. Quiet frustrated with the situation… As I have to work with this person


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