Civic integration in the Netherlands

People who are moving to the Netherlands for a long period of time or permanently must be able to participate in Dutch society. The government believes it is important for them to integrate. This includes learning the Dutch language.

No civic integration requirement

The civic integration requirement does not apply to nationals of:

  • European Union (EU) countries
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey.

It also does not apply to:

  • children under 18
  • people who have lived in the Netherlands for at least 8 years and were of compulsory school age at that time
  • people who have degrees, diplomas, certificates or other evidence of having followed certain types of education and training at a Dutch institution taught in the Dutch language
  • people who have reached retirement age
  • people coming to the Netherlands for a temporary purpose such as work, study or an exchange programme.

Civic integration requirement

People who do not fall into the above groups must complete the civic integration process if they stay in the Netherlands for a lengthy period of time. There are special courses they can follow for this purpose. They must, for instance, know:

  • how to find work
  • how to make a hospital appointment
  • what types of schools there are in the Netherlands (if they have children).

All the necessary information can be found on inburgeren.nl.

Changes to the civic integration system

The government wants new arrivals to find work as quickly as possible and learn Dutch at the same time. It proposes 3 new civic integration pathways:

  • A pathway for language learning and doing paid or unpaid work. This will allow people to learn the Dutch language within a maximum of 3 years and carry out paid or voluntary work at the same time.
  • A pathway for young people, so they can gain qualifications as quickly as possible.
  • A special pathway aimed at social self-reliance for people who are unable to follow the other ones.

In order to make these changes possible, the government is drafting a bill on a new civic integration system.