Sunday, February 06, 2005

Going Dutch

In the face of ever-growing public pressure to deal with the problems spawned by open-door immigration, the Dutch government has proposed every bureaucrat's dream of a solution. Prospective immigrants to the Netherlands will now have to pass a comprehensive exam covering Dutch history, society and culture before they can immigrate.

[Immigration Minister Rita] Verdonk's ministry estimates that up to 350 hours of study will be needed to pass the test, which will be taken via telephone on a speech-controlled computer system. Those sitting the exam will pay a fee of about €350 (£240), and can prepare for it by studying an "integration pack", which will cost €45.

A video accompanying it, designed to give an insight into life and social mores in the Netherlands, includes images of topless women sunbathing and of a gay marriage.

Well, at least the Dutch know their cultural priorities.
Available in 13 languages, it describes the political institutions of the Netherlands and chronicles the country's history, highlighting important political and cultural figures from William of Orange to Anne Frank.
The proposed immigration test requires approval from the Dutch parliament before it will go into effect. Initially, it will apply only to those seeking to immigrate to the Netherlands. However, the government may ultimately test those immigrants already residing in the country.
Initially the test will be required of foreigners applying for an immigration visa from outside the Netherlands but [Ms. Verdonk] said she plans to extend examinations to people already living in the country.

This means some 755,000 people already in Holland could eventually be required to prove their knowledge of Dutch history and language, or risk a fine and possibly the loss of residency rights.

Those who want to come to the Netherlands will have to take the exam in their home country before being granted a visa, unless they come from countries exempted from the law, which include other EU states and the US.

The Dutch government appears to be betting that 1) the test will pose such a difficult burden that many potential immigrants will simply look elsewhere, and that 2) it will screen out ignorant fanatics mostly from the Islamic world who find liberal Dutch culture intolerable. The former notion fails since the test won't apply to immigrants from other EU countries, already reeling from immigrant tsunamis of their own. The latter idea assumes that Islamist fanatics don't understand Dutch culture -- in fact, they probably understand it all too well. The globetrotting jihadists responsible for so much carnage in recent years are decidedly not ignorant bedouin snatched up from the Saudi desert and dropped into a red light district in Amsterdam. The jihadists currently breeding in Europe are well-educated and well-travelled; they attend Western universities and have sampled decadent Western diversions. They know the West - particularly Europe - and still despise it.

The test also represents a clever way for the Dutch government to avoid acknowledging the real nature of its problem. The threat to Dutch society comes from intolerant Muslim immigrants in particular, and far too many non-European immigrants in general. But the politics of multiculturalism forbid the government from simply forbidding any further immigration by Muslims and greatly reducing non-European immigration. The test hopes to accomplish those goals without ever stating them. The inability of the Dutch government to forthrightly declare its national and cultural interests, and act accordingly, is a serious ideological vulnerability - not only for the Netherlands, but for Europe and the US as well.


At 3:05 PM , Blogger Joe said...

So a few issues with Muslims mean all Muslim immigration should be banned?

Dutch society would lose far more from such an endeavor than they would gain.


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