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Netherlands/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.7 Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes


Intercultural dialogue has always been an important issue in the Netherlands, especially in the first years of the 21st century. The murder of the politician and Rotterdam City Council member Pim Fortuyn in 2002, and that of columnist, filmmaker and film director Theo van Gogh in 2004, caused a huge commotion. Both were known for their controversial opinions and statements. They frequently transgressed the rules of established societal and political order.

The tension that resulted in society has led to a search for new ways of stimulating social cohesion and intercultural dialogue. Although there is no specific policy regarding intercultural dialogue in the policy memorandum Culture Moves (2013), cultural diversity is still an important issue in the Netherlands (see chapter 4.2.4). The policy focus on multiculturalism in the 1990s, and on integration in the first decade of this century, has triggered a long-term debate on cultural identity and cultural diversity. After 2010, this focus was eclipsed in the policy spectrum, being rephrased in the cultural field as a sensitising concept, to be kept in mind when decisions are to be made in planning programmes, recruiting personnel or filling vacant positions on governance boards (see chapter 4.2.4).

Actors and programmes

The Immigration and Naturalisation Service, which falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Security and Justice, is the main public actor responsible for immigration issues. The government mainly focuses on the practical issues of immigration.

Additional Resources:

Government's overall approach to intercultural dialogue

Database of Good Practice on Intercultural Dialogue

Key Resources

Chapter published: 13-03-2017

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