39 percent of the Dutch population will have a migration background by 2060

The CBS has released figures that show that the number of people with a migration background living in the Netherlands is set to increase to 7.6 million people by 2060. This is excellent news for the economy, but not so much when it comes to the housing crisis.

Currently, there are 4.2 million people living in the Netherlands with a migration background, and 13.2 million people with a Dutch background. These proportions are set to change by 2060 as a result of economic migration.

Refugees only make up 5 percent of the projected population increase

Although the popular perception is that population change is taking place as a result of refugees, that is actually far from true. According to the CBS, only 5 percent of the immigration that the Netherlands will experience between 2019 and 2059 will be as a result of refugees arriving in the country.

Lots of vacancies for educated workers and university students

Instead, international students will play a large role. Between 2017 and 2019 the level of migration to the Netherlands was higher than expected, and students played a huge role in that. The CBS expects that to continue, because there are lots of vacancies for highly-educated people. They expect these to be mainly filled by people from Poland, South America and the Middle East.

Economic migration leads to family migration

One of the things the CBS emphasised was that it is impossible to class all migrants to the Netherlands in one group: they vary widely. There are people moving here to work in the agricultural sector, but also to work in the tech companies springing up in Eindhoven and Amstelveen. And according to Tanja Traag, a researcher at the CBS, this also means that family migration increases: people who move here for economic reasons will also (eventually) bring their family with them.

Fewer migrants from Poland and Romania

The CBS also predicts that there will be a decrease in people coming to the Netherlands from Poland and Romania, as the economies of these countries are becoming stronger and wages are rising. This presents a problem for a lot of Dutch companies who usually rely on these countries to provide a lot of their workers. They will need to look elsewhere in the future.

“Our social system has been made quite migration-proof”

Leo Lucassen, professor of labour and migration history at Leiden University, emphasised in an interview with RTL Nieuws that a lot of the concerns that Dutch people have about increased immigration are unfounded, particularly when it comes to the idea that immigrants are coming here to take advantage of the welfare state. “Our social system has been made quite migration-proof. You do not just receive benefits, you have to work for it first. This applies not only to all Dutch people, but also to migrants from within and outside the EU.”

Housing crisis will get worse

The housing crisis is likely to get worse in the Netherlands as the population grows. Currently, the CBS predicts that there will be 157,000 fewer homes than required for the population by 2030.

Ageing population will benefit from immigration

But, in general, increased immigration will have a really positive effect on the Netherlands, particularly as the population ages. Between 2019 and 2060 the number of those over 80 years of age will double. According to Traag, “the migration ensures that the problems surrounding ageing are taken care of.”

What do you think about immigration levels in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments below. 

Feature image: Fauxels/Pexels

Ailish Lalor
Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.


  1. This perfectly aligns with the zoekjaar visa, which is created by the Dutch government to attract highly educated graduates from top 200 universities worldwide. The arrival of zoekjaar visa holders will hopefully contribute to filling this rising number of vacancies.


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