For a long time the Dutch took pride in the fact that many people came to their country because of its relative tolerance towards other cultures and religions. Immigrants who came after the Second World War, as guest workers or from former colonies, were initially encouraged to maintain their own cultures, even after it became clear they would stay in the Netherlands permanently. Since 1998, however, several new immigration and integration laws have been introduced. Most of these laws have made Dutch immigration and integration policies stricter. Whereas early integration policies aimed at maintaining cultural diversity, this diversity is increasingly seen as something that obstructs integration into Dutch society. Even after the implementation of more restrictive legislation, policies in the Netherlands are still comparatively open. In recent years, the government has started to develop programmes to attract highly skilled workers as part of a move towards a 'modern migration policy'.
Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS) of the University of Osnabrück & Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, bpb)