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Refugee attitudes - Netherlands

The #Netherlands is stereotypically seen as a somewhat open, progressive, and tolerant country. However, after the 2015 increase in migration the #attitudes toward refugees became more cautious. At the same time, it is notable that a great majority of those granted residency in the Netherlands, after staying in the country for the required 5 years, manage to receive Dutch citizenship - the share of naturalisation is the highest among the Syrian minority.

Regarding people's attitudes towards refugees, there are two groups at the opposite ends of the spectrum: anti-refugee and anti-migrant (16,5%), who negatively view migration and its consequences. And pro-refugee, pro-migrant (18,7%), who are open to receiving refugees and see the benefits of this process. Nonetheless, most people fall in the middle of the spectrum (64,8%). Although people against refugees are a minority, most Dutch society does not support those seeking refuge in their country. Studies confirm that those with lower education levels, higher perception of relative deprivation, and those who feel a larger distance from the culture of #Islam [as people tend to assume that most refugees and migrants are #Muslim] are more likely to have an anti-refugee stance. This view, together with the media narrative that suggests some refugees from the Middle Eastern countries are rather "economic" migrants, could fuel people's skeptical attitudes. A shift in the outlook on refugees is visible in the recent arrival of refugees from #Ukraine, who are accepted in the Netherlands by 86% of the citizens.

Prime Minister Mark #Rutte had expressed a cautious attitude towards refugees and asylum seekers since their arrival in abundance in 2015. Also, the far-right Dutch Party for Freedom gained substantial support in the 2017 election. It became the second party in the parliament. The party leader, Geert #Wilders, is known for his negative views on refugees and migrants and promoted anti-Muslim ideas like banning all mosques in the Netherlands or a #hijab tax.

Even though most Dutch citizens aren't opposed to accepting refugees, they don't necessarily welcome them with open arms.

Research proves that close inter-group contact can reduce #prejudice. Therefore, the question is not about accepting refugees but encouraging integration without losing one's sense of #identity.

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