European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Fourth report on the Netherlands [en] - [fr] –[nl]

Press Release – 15.10.2013

Dutch version

Council of Europe’s Anti-Racism Commission publishes new report on the Netherlands

Strasbourg, 15.10.2013 - The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today published its fourth report on the Netherlands. ECRI’s Chair, Ms Eva Smith, noted a number of steps forward but expressed concern about other issues, such as the cutting of funds for various anti-discrimination structures, changing attitudes to integration and the cost of residence permits.

On the positive side, measures have been taken to improve the reporting, registration and prosecution of racist crime. A dense and well performing network of local anti-discrimination services is in place. Several studies have been commissioned on extremism, racism and racial discrimination, one of them assessing the situation of groups of concern to ECRI in the field of employment. The Equal Treatment Commission has been successfully incorporated into the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights.

At the same time, certain politicians and media often portray Islam and Muslims, as well as the arrival of Eastern Europeans, as a threat to Dutch society. The criminal-law response to some of these statements has been criticised. There is no national inclusion strategy for Roma. Bills with discriminatory implications have been announced to regulate the settlement in the Netherlands of Dutch citizens from parts of the Antilles. The integration tests have several questionable aspects.

In its report, ECRI has made a number of recommendations to the authorities, among which the following three require priority implementation and will be revisited by ECRI in two years’ time:

  • Racist motivation should be recognised as an aggravating circumstance in the Criminal Code;
  • A national strategy should be developed against racism and racial discrimination;
  • Specific steps should be taken to tackle the problem of exploitation of temporary agency workers who do not live in the Netherlands permanently.

The report is available here. It was prepared following ECRI’s contact visit to the Netherlands in September 2012 [Press Release – 09.10.2012] and takes account of developments up to 22 March 2013.

ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, intolerance and discrimination on grounds such as “race”, national/ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language (racial discrimination); it prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States.

For more information on ECRI:

Press contact: Stefano Valenti, Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 43 28,