Migration from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) to the Netherlands did not just start with the EU-enlargements of 2004 and 20071. However, after the EU-enlargements in 2004 and 2007, the number of (officially registered) residents from CEE countries in the Netherlands increased rapidly. In the late 1990s, there were about 50,000 CEE residents while in 2003, shortly before the EU-enlargement of 2004, this number grew to 62,000 CEE residents. In 2013, this number increased to almost 180,000 – nearly three times more than in 2003. By far the largest subcategory in the Netherlands is the group of Poles. Their numbers more than tripled between 2004 and 2013 (from almost 36,000 to 111,000). Particularly after 2007, when the Netherlands lifted the transitional restrictions for Poles and residents from the other new member states of 2004, the number of Polish residents in the Netherlands increased rapidly. The other three main CEE migrant categories in the Netherlands are Bulgarians (almost 21,000 persons in 2013), Hungarians (almost 19,500 persons) and Romanians (almost 18,000 persons). The number of Bulgarians in the Netherlands in 2013 was almost five times higher than in 2007, when Bulgaria acceded the EU. Hungary joined the EU in 2004 and one third of the current Hungarian residents in the Netherlands arrived since 2004. The number of Romanians in the Netherlands almost doubled since Romania acceded the EU in 2007. However, all these figures relate to the number of officially registered CEE migrants in the Netherlands. As many CEE migrants in the Netherlands appear not to register formally, the actual number of CEE migrants is much larger. According to estimations of Van der Heijden, Cruijff, and Van Gils (2011; 2013), there were about 340,000 CEE nationals actually present in the Netherlands in 2010 – almost twice as many as the number of officially registered CEE migrants in the same year. This clearly indicates a ‘grey zone’ between registered and estimated stock data.

Erasmus University Rotterdam
Department of Public Administration

van Ostaijen, M., Faber, M., Engbersen, G., & Scholten, P. (2015). Social consequences of CEE migration. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/78009