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From the Netherlands to Canada : immigrant discourses on the transnational experience, race, and space Vermeulen, Elisabeth Margrieta 2006

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FROM THE NETHERLANDS TO CANADA: IMMIGRANT DISCOURSES ON THE TRANSNATIONAL EXPERIENCE, RACE, AND SPACE by ELISABETH MARGRIETA VERMEULEN A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Anthropology) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 2006 © Elisabeth Margrieta Vermeulen, 2006 Abstract In the wake of increased emigration from the Netherlands over the last several years, the aim of this thesis is to examine the main motivating factors that inform current Dutch migration practices to Canada. In this qualitative, multi-sited research comprised of 34 participants, considerable attention is given to examine the popular notions linking this observed increase in emigration to the growing politicization of issues related to immigration and racialization in the Netherlands itself, including the murder of politician Pirn Fortuyn and filmmaker Theo van Gogh. A transnational framework is used to address aspects related to the role of the media, the family, the maintenance of ties with the country of origin, the contestation of the notion of immigration, and the role of the nation-state in creating differentiated access to immigration. An overview of the motivations that informs the participants' decision to immigrate to Canada reveals that there is a cluster of overlapping reasons, often predicated on the historic notion that Holland is overpopulated. Motivations include a dislike of the current politicization of issues related to immigrants in Holland; a perceived lack of space and nature; frustration with rules and regulations; and, a perceived negative shift in socio-cultural attitude. In addition, current Dutch migration to Canada exemplifies a migration flow where economic motivators are no longer the centre point informing their decision to migrate, and the participants' migration practices also exemplify new considerations for how the concept of transmigrants is used in transnational migration studies. Table of Contents Abstract ii Table of Contents iii Acknowledgements iv Introduction 1 Methods ; 10 Transnational Aspects ~ Dutch Style 14 Motivations 25 Feelings and Rationalities in the Search of a New Country 25 Narrative Discourses on Immigrant Issues, Racialization and Multiculturalism 28 Narrative Discourses about Space 35 Conclusion 44 Bibliography 47 Acknowledgements I owe special thanks to my thesis supervisor, Dr. Alexia Bloch, for encouraging me to do a Master Degree in Anthropology. I appreciate your encouragement, advice and support with this research project. I would also like to thank Dr. C. Blackburn, my committee member, for providing me with constructive criticism about my thesis throughout the project. I would like to express my gratitude to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for granting me a one-year scholarship to conduct this research. Many thanks to Mrs. M. ter Meulen, Officer for Academic Relations at the Canadian Embassy in The Hague; Mr. B. Nagel; Mr. Frans Buijsse of Buijsse Immigration Consultancy; Ms. E. Bijdemast of the Dutch Network website; and Mr. A. Vanderheide of the Windmill Herald for their efforts in helping me locate research participants. Many, many thanks to my family for your loving support: to Albrecht for encouraging and supporting me throughout my Master's Program; and, to my siblings for housing me while I was conducting interviews in the Netherlands. A special thank you to my sister Barbara who drove me to interviews and events so crucial to my project when public transportation was not available. I could not have carried out my research without all your help. Finally, I wish to thank all the participants of this research project. It is my hope that this thesis reflects your experiences and expectations. Introduction Recent articles in Dutch and Canadian print media display alarming headlines including "New Wave of Emigration Indicates a Dislike of the Netherlands" (De Hoog 2005), "It Just Doesn't Feel Like Holland Any More" (Saunders 2005), and "Where is the emergency exit?" (Ter Bekke et al. 2005:25). An unexpected phenomenon is taking shape in the Netherlands: emigration levels are increasing right at a time when immigration of newcomers to Holland has become a significant political issue. A specific moment in time has proven to be pivotal in a sharp increase of people wanting to emigrate; for four weeks after the murder of prominent and popular Dutch filmmaker and newspaper columnist Theo van Gogh on November 2, 2004 the largest emigration consultancy in the Netherlands "received 13,000 on-line applications from people requesting information on moving to Canada - more than four times the usual level" (Saunders 2005). Even more sensational is the consultant's assertion that "since then, this increase hasn't stopped" (2005). My research of contemporary Dutch migration practices to Canada began when these various alarming news media reports were linking continued immigration to Holland to a rise in emigration applications to Canada. These developments were not something that I could ignore, yet - at the same time -1 also found it difficult to believe that this would be the sole reason that emigration levels have been increasing in recent years. In this thesis I locate the politicization of immigrant issues in the Netherlands in conjunction with notions about space and nature that the participants of this research identify as important motivating factors that impel them to immigrate to Canada. I also highlight the importance of locating Dutch migration to Canada in a transnational framework that foregrounds new conceptualizations of the meaning of migration as well as the stratified nature of migration. The events leading up to the renewed popularity of Canada as a country of immigration require a brief elaboration of historical Dutch migration practices to Canada as well as a brief overview of the historical events leading up to the politicization of immigrant issues in Holland. 1 Canada and Holland have been connected through Dutch migration practices since before the creation of the Canadian Confederacy in 1867 (Ganzevoort 1988). In the 1950s and 1960s, hardship in Holland due to the aftermath of WWII created a particularly large wave of Dutch immigration to Canada. Housing was scarce and the Dutch economy was in shambles. From about 1950 to 1992, the Netherlands had a "formal emigration policy.. .based on a belief that the country was overpopulated" (Muus 2004:263-4). Emigration of a part of the labour force was believed to be "a national necessity" in order to rebuild the economy (Ganzevoort 1988:67). To this end, the Dutch government successfully negotiated with the government of Canada to allow large-scale, "state-sponsored emigration of Dutch citizens" (Ganzevoort 1988:68; Muus 2004:263-4). As a result, 923,310 people in Canada claim full or partial Dutch ethnic origins (Statistics Canada 2001). This wave of emigration was quite typical of the growing post-WWII international migration. It was informed by massive surplus populations, inadequate employment opportunities and miserable social conditions (Castles & Miller 2003:3). Much has changed in the Netherlands since the difficult post-WWII decades. Even though the Netherlands has had its economic ups and downs, this liberal democratic country has become prosperous. Socio-culturally, the country has witnessed a fading away of a once strong consociational or pillarized societal organization where vertical pillars of various religious and politico-ideological groups (e.g., the socialists) each organized their own institutions (e.g., schools, media, and trade unions) (Muus 2004:265). Holland's population has grown from just over 9 million people in 1945 to nearly 16.5 million in 2005 (CBS 2005a), making it one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. The western part of the country, the Randstad,1 has witnessed, and continues to witness, urbanization. Newcomers have arrived from the previous Dutch colonies of Indonesia and Surinam. As the economy thrived in the 1960s and early 1970s, the Dutch government, like several other West European nations, such as Germany, resorted to a strategy of large-scale foreign labour import to solve labour shortages (Castles & Miller 2 2003:71). It implemented a number of recruitment agreements (i.e., guest worker programs) with Mediterranean countries such as Turkey to fill unskilled and low-skilled labour needs (Muus 2004:268). This temporary recruitment plan came informally to a halt with a downturn in the economy due to the 1973 oil crisis. As many labour migrants stayed for various reasons in Holland and were joined by family members, temporary labour migration turned into permanent settlement (2004:268). Another migration flow of refugees from various nations has occurred since the 1990s. Today just over nineteen percent of the population is classified as "allochtone" (i.e., having at least one parent who has been born outside of the Netherlands) (CBS 2006) Since the mid-1980s the Dutch government changed its national narrative to reflect this ongoing immigration (Muus 2004:264). In 1983, it implemented a series of ad hoc ethnic minority policies based on a multicultural discourse that was "intentionally inclusive" (2004:281). This policy emphasized equal opportunity and equivalent participation, an ideology that is reflective of the welfare state (Lucassen & Penninx 1997:150). It aimed to create "a tolerant, multicultural or multi-ethnic society, in which cultural and ethnic 'distinctiveness' should be accepted and valued" (1997:150). All minority groups had the right to develop and maintain their culture, language, and religion (1997:158). It also focused on eliminating social disadvantage and institutional discrimination of minorities (1997:150). To this end, the Dutch government identified socially and economically disadvantaged groups and categorized these as ethnic minorities (Muus 2004:281). This has arguably contributed to the negative stereotyping of several of these minorities, particularly the Turks and Moroccans. While some resistance to this policy has been present in Dutch society from the onset, there was broad political and civic support for these new policies throughout the 1980s (Lucassen & Penninx 1994:167). From the 1980s, European political philosophy changed. The liberal-egalitarian welfare-state philosophy shifted "away from liberal tolerance and cultural relativism and towards neo-conservatism with certain nationalist traits" (Entzinger 2004:291). Concomitantly, the Dutch 3 narrative discourse on the incorporation of immigrants shifted in the late 1980s to early 1990s from an ideology based on multiculturalism to one increasingly based on integration of the individual immigrant (Muus 2004:283).'" The multicultural approach had not substantially changed the social and economic disadvantage of these groups when compared to the native Dutch population. Currently, immigrants are not only asked to "step up" social-economic integration and participation in education (RMO 2005:18), they are also expected to integrate on a socio-cultural level. The changing of habits, norms, values, and language to reflect the normative discourse of the nation-state as a free, western democratic, secular, modern society in which individualism and gender equality are highly prized, have become important aspects of the immigrant incorporation regime (2005:19). This new discourse has coincided with the rise of radical right populist political parties in Holland as well as elsewhere in Western Europe (Zaslove 2004:62). By 2001, such parties were present in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy and Switzerland (2004:62). While their platforms are often broad-based, a discourse focused on fear of immigration is one strategy used to gain popularity. In this context, and for the first time in Dutch history, immigration became an important issue in the 2002 local and parliamentary elections (Entzinger 2004:291). The rise of the populist party List Pirn Fortuyn notes a key shift in cultural attitudes towards newcomers in Dutch society as well as towards the governments' ad hoc Dutch immigrant incorporation regime. The party's charismatic leader, Pirn Fortuyn, was very adept at shaping public opinion and at instigating a public discussion about the issue of immigrants and multiculturalism that had hitherto been hushed over (Zaslove 2004:67). An ideology that differed from the state hegemonic one was coming to the fore. In fact, while Fortuyn addressed a variety of issues (as do other European populist parties), his platform also focused on the issue of the "invasion of immigrants" (Zaslove 2004:64). In particular, he articulated a "dislike of Muslim immigrants [that] was largely based on their discrimination against gays and women" (Entzinger 2004:295) 4 and the "backwardness" of the Islamic religion (Doomernik 2005:35). This formulation, while arguably focusing on the maintenance of the liberal democratic ideology in which there is equality for all, shifted the discourse to a different level in its foregrounding of Islamic religion as non-progressive. It sent a message that non-progressive cultural articulations of Islam (and by extension ethnic minorities who are Muslim) are unwelcome in Dutch society. His platform was therefore an articulation of new racism that is based on a transition "from a biological to a cultural justification of exclusion," whereby various discourses including patriotism, nationalism, and xenophobia are combined to rationalize the exclusion of the "Other" (Zaslove 2004:75). This construction of the "Other" based on cultural differences is pervasive throughout west Europe as evidenced, for example, by recent clashes in the suburbs of French cities. In May 2002 Pirn Fortuyn was killed just prior to elections by a Dutch animal rights activist. His murder and his political platform struck a chord with voters: his party won 26 percent of the seats in the Lower House. The party subsequently lost many of its voters three months later with a new election round because it lacked leadership (Doomernik 2005:35). However, the anti-immigrant discourse has not dissolved as easily as the party did. Commenting on the failings of multiculturalism, particularly with regards to Muslim ethnic minorities, was no longer politically incorrect. Popular Theo van Gogh, newspaper columnist and film director, antagonized the Muslim population with a controversial film about Islamic culture called "Submission". This film conveyed that, in Dutch society, there are limits to the tolerance towards cultural ways that do not match the nation's Western liberal narrative. In the fall of 2004 he was killed by a radical Islamist. His murder raised troubling questions about cultural values of tolerance, freedom of speech, and multiculturalism. At a time when migration is being politicized, more people are actually emigrating from the Netherlands than immigrating to the Netherlands. In fact, current emigration is at its highest since 1954 (CBS 2004). In 2004, a total of 112,000 people left (Ter Bekke et al. 2005:25) of 5 whom 49,000 were born in the Netherlands (CBS 2005b).iv Approximately 250,000 Dutch adults have intentions to leave the Netherlands sometime in the future (Ter Bekke et al. 2005:26). Of this group, approximately 26,400 entertain serious plans to emigrate and Canada tops the list of preferential emigration countries (2005:26). Yearly migration fairs are attracting more and more aspirant emigrants, consultants, and representatives of nation-states such as Canada. Despite popular impressions, since 1983 Dutch immigration to Canada is at a stable level of approximately 1,000 immigrants per year (2005:29). Increased migration is not yet reflected in statistics. Yet the fact that there exists a hype, and that we are witnessing the development of social networks that "make the migratory process safer and more manageable for the migrants" (Castles & Miller 2003:28) is significant. It is likely that we are witnessing the start of increased Dutch migration to Canada. Indeed, now that it has become clear that Holland is once again a country of emigration, researchers in Holland are beginning to ask why a young population that "[is] more or less content with their house, their work and their earnings" (De Hoog 2005:A11) is leaving. In addition to the above-mentioned question, I set out to conduct multi-sited qualitative research to gain an understanding into why Canada is a popular destination country. Since research in this area is just beginning^ and previous Canadian or Dutch ethnographic research focuses on pre-1990 Dutch migration to Canada, qualitative research adequately reflecting current Dutch migration to Canada is not existent. Research in the past has focused on the period following WWII. It has addressed issues of ethnicity building among the various Dutch sub-cultures, such as the Calvinists, in particular geographical areas of Canada (see Van den Hoonaard 1991; Breems 1991; Van Dijk 1990). Frans Schryer's ethnographic research with over six hundred Dutch-Canadians who arrived in Ontario between 1946 and 1958 is especially noteworthy. This broadly focused study of Dutch people from various "religious, ethnic, linguistic, regional, national and class" (1998:xi) backgrounds is concerned with the way that this cohort has drawn on familiar social organization to reproduce pillarized social 6 formations among themselves in Canada. Schryer neither focuses nor elaborates on the post-1990 Dutch immigrant cohort. Yet he states that recent Dutch immigrants "with a whole new set of dispositions reflecting a different Dutch society, have.. .little in common with their compatriots who arrived just after World War Two" (1998:7). In the face of desecularization and the erosion of the sociological basis for a pillarized society, "the nature of being 'Dutch' has become transformed... .people originating in the Netherlands (or Holland) define themselves in different ways" (1998:xi). The change in dispositions is also reflected in new patterns of contemporary Dutch migration practices. This thesis builds on prior migration research that is situated within a transnational framework. Since the beginning of the 1990s, migration research has often been framed within the theoretical context of transnationalism. On the one hand, this is an acknowledgment that in today's world the process of globalization is so pervasive that it constitutes a social fact for most if not all people in the world, and that phenomena such as "the great complexity of contemporary migrations" (Castles & Miller 2003:25) have to be researched within this framework. On the other hand, the term acknowledges that there are structural factors, including the global matrix of nation-states, involved in the transnationalization process by which globalized "flows of various kinds, including investment, trade, cultural products, ideas and people" (2003:1) are funneled and stratified. Anthropologists have contributed to transnational migration research by including a focus on what Aihwa Ong terms the "cultural logics" to stress that in a transnational world, particular migration streams are "apprehended through and directed by cultural meanings" (1999:5). Dutch (aspiring) immigrants, for example, use terminology that is repeatedly invoked in the interviews that reflect these logics. This thesis draws on work by anthropologists Arjun Appadurai (1996), Aihwa Ong (1999), Ghassan Hage (2005), Basch, Glick Schiller, and Szanton Blanc (1994), and Caroline Brettell (2003) as well as geographer Doreen Massey (1994) to place contemporary Dutch migration in the transnational context. I seek to illustrate, through the 7 participants' narratives, the current cultural logics that make their immigration to Canada "thinkable, practicable, and desirable" (Ong 1999:5). This thesis also seeks to explore - through the participants' narratives - the popular notion that this migration is, at least in part, a reaction to the growing politicization of issues related to immigration and racialization in the Netherlands. As in the previous historical overview, I address issues about racial formation from the point of view of social constructivism. I draw on interdisciplinary literature on immigration and racial formation (Gilroy 1987; Bhabha 1994; Benhabib 2002; Basch et al. 1994; and Mackey 2002) to place these narratives in discursive perspective, and to highlight the way that the participants interpret and construct differences between Canada and Holland with regards to these issues. The notion of space (i.e., physical, social, and mental space) is a prominent feature in the participants' narratives. I therefore address Dutch migration processes within current theory about space and place that situates the social production of space within a political economy framework. Drawing on Henri Lefebvre's (1991) dialectic triad of perceived, conceived and lived space, I will highlight the role of the regulation of space in the workplace and the country's built environment as well as the images and symbols associated with Dutch "space" and Canadian "space" in Dutch immigrants' narratives. Lefebvre's (1991) distinction between quantitative and qualitative space is also a useful framework for understanding these migrants' narratives about their motivations to immigrate to Canada. By drawing on these three bodies of literature - transnationalism, racial formation, and space -1 suggest that current Dutch migration practices to Canada provide insight into a migration flow that is not primarily based on migrants' attempts to improve their economic standard of living. Instead, a relative good economic standard of living is the point of departure for these (aspirant) immigrants that enables them to imagine and often act upon their wish to immigrate to Canada. The motivations that impel (aspirant) immigrants to move to Canada are to 8 improve other, perhaps less obvious, aspects that they identify as constituting a good qualitative standard of living. It is in the narratives constructing Canada as a viable and attractive alternative to an overpopulated Holland that the participants express their sense and conviction that then-qualitative standard of living has been compromised. In a transnational world, many participants have embodied a new kind of valorized subjectivity that embraces flexibility, migration, and relocations as practices to strive for (Ong 1999:19), yet a relative good economic standard of living in the Netherlands does not necessarily translate into making the wish to become an immigrant in Canada a reality. Immigration to Canada is still only for those who possess the right kind of social capital and the right amount of economic capital required by the Canadian nation-state. I present my argument in three main sections. The first section addresses the methods that I utilized for this ethnography. The second section addresses the participants' narrative discourses on transnationalism. It provides insight into the way that the contemporary (aspiring) Dutch immigrant to Canada is situated in a transnational world. I address issues such as the role of the family in migration processes, the maintenance of ties with the country of origin, the contestation of the notion of immigration, and differentiated access to immigration. The third section provides an overview of the motivations that inform the participants' decision to immigrate to Canada. The participants' narratives reveal that there is a cluster of often overlapping reasons; often predicated on the historic notion that Holland is overpopulated, that contribute to this decision. They include a difficult to formulate "feeling", a dislike of the current politicization of issues related to immigrants in Holland, a lack of space, frustration with rules and regulations, and a perceived negative shift in socio-cultural mentaliteit (attitude). 9 Methods This research on Dutch migration necessitated an ethnographic method that is not bound by the "conventional single-site location" (Marcus 1995:95). The people who identify themselves with Dutch migration to Canada live in different locations. My ethnographic research has therefore been multi-sited. In the summer of 2005,1 traveled to towns and cities in Holland to hold 18 interviews with a total of 27 participants. In the second stage of my research, conducted in the fall of 2005,1 traveled in and around Vancouver to hold five interviews with a total of seven participants. In total, I interviewed 34 people. The Netherlands is the country where I was born and raised. I have lived in Canada for over 15 years and had not been back to the Netherlands in over five years. To locate approximately 15 people, I placed an advertisement in three major country-wide newspapers to which I received no response. I also called a major immigration consultancy to ask for permission to attend an information afternoon for aspirant immigrants. Approximately sixty people who planned to move to Australia, New Zealand and Canada attended this meeting where I met nine couples who were glad to help me with my research. Of these I interviewed six couples who were able to meet with me during my research in the Netherlands. I also contacted the Canadian Embassy, and asked for an interview with the Officer for Academic Relations. With her kind help, I contacted five couples and three married women who I interviewed in the Netherlands and one couple who I interviewed months later in the Vancouver area. I also placed an advertisement on a website about emigration to Canada to which I received approximately 40 enthusiastic responses. I conducted interviews with one couple, three men and one woman through this avenue. Many of the Internet responses were from people looking for information about the emigration process itself. As a researcher, I was seen as one more source of information. This was in many cases also true of the other people that I interviewed in the Netherlands, and I found myself often in the position of cultural broker. I did . 10 not wish to influence the interviews being a Dutch-Canadian immigrant myself. I therefore made sure that I said as little as possible about my situation or my knowledge about the migration process in general before or during the interviews, often promising to talk about my experiences and my findings "so far" after the interview was completed. The 18 interviews that I conducted in the Netherlands were with people who live in the lower two-thirds of the country, the most populated and urbanized area of the Netherlands. While I did receive three responses from people living in the northern part of the country, I chose not to interview these people because of transportation logistics. I also realized, as I was setting up my network in the Netherlands, that there are several, sometimes overlapping, networks of aspirant immigrants. It is likely that I did not get in touch with people living in the north because many of these aspirant immigrants are people working in the agricultural sector who access different networks. None of the participants of my research were involved in agriculture. The people who I interviewed in the Netherlands were not a homogenous group in regards to where they found themselves on the migration traject (trajectory). Seven interviews were with people who were seriously considering migration or were in the often time consuming process of gathering their documents to finalize their application for landed immigrant status in Canada. Five interviews were with people waiting to have their application approved. And six interviews were with people whose application had been approved. In many cases the reasons that inform their motivations to emigrate are similar, yet the participants who have not yet submitted their application are important, because their narratives highlight issues around the degree to which migration is an option equally accessible to all. The goal of the second part of my research in and around Vancouver was to compare and contrast these participants' experiences with the expectations of the participants in the Netherlands. With the help of several Dutch-Canadians, one of whom manages a website with the goal to facilitate communication among Dutch-Canadian people, businesses and associations 11 that are present in and around Vancouver, I met and interviewed three couples and two women who had immigrated to Canada no longer than ten years ago. I arranged meetings with interview participants at their convenience. With the exception of three interviews that were held at cafes, all interviews took place at the participants' homes. Most people were very welcoming offering coffee, lunch, or dinner. All interviews were conducted in Dutch. Prior to the interview I informed participants that I would use pseudonyms for their names and places of residence in my ethnography. The interviews lasted from 45 minutes to two hours and were voice recorded. All recorded interviews have been transcribed. I have chosen a relatively informal, qualitative semi-structured interviewing technique because my principal aim has been to gain an in-depth understanding of the participants' expectations and experiences. This method is well suited to arrive "at some of [the] subtleties by listening to the voices of migrants themselves - how they tell their stories and what meanings they assign to their own actions" (Brettell 2003:5). This technique allowed the participants to indicate and talk about personally important aspects and perspectives of the migration experience. Conversely, this technique also provided a check on my personally preconceived ideas about Dutch migration. My questionnaire included 11 demographic questions and 40 guiding questions arranged by theme. These questions provided a framework of comparison in interpreting the data. The fact that I share the experience of immigration in common with the group that I have interviewed has undoubtedly influenced the line of questioning and the interpretation of the data. I acknowledge that interviews are not neutral tools of data gathering but active interactions between two (or more) people leading to negotiated, contextually based results (Fontana & Frey 2000:663). I have in fact found my in-group position an asset in building rapport with the participants, because we had something in common and this made our conversations all the more meaningful and rich. 12 Due to the nature of this ethnography, opportunities for participant-observation have been limited. In the Netherlands I participated in the afore-mentioned gathering of aspirant emigrants. I have maintained contact with several of the Dutch participants via e-mail. Two couples who are in the process of immigrating have visited me while they were on vacation in Canada. In Vancouver, I have attended several gatherings for Dutch people, the main one being a monthly meeting of the Oranje Club. This is a casual event where Dutch people and their descendants have the opportunity to socialize. In addition, I have had conversations with Dutch-Canadians who own a Dutch restaurant, a store selling Dutch products, and a Dutch-Canadian newspaper respectively. Briefly, the 35 participants were between the ages of 22 and 54, and their average age was 39. While out of politeness I did not specifically ask about people's financial status, most people appear to be relatively well off. All participants except for one couple and three single people owned their own houses, which they planned to sell in order to use the revenue to start a new life in Canada. Of the participants willing to disclose their level of education, 14 had a high level of education. They had university degrees or equivalent technical or trade degrees. Eleven had high school diplomas, and seven had professional training (e.g., nursing). Eight participants had their own full-time business, while three participants owned part-time businesses. Most participants were gainfully employed. Eleven couples in the Netherlands had children. In Canada two couples and one single woman had children. Most participants in the Netherlands wished to immigrate to British Columbia. Three couples had their eyes set on Alberta, two couples and one single woman planned to immigrate to Ontario and one couple was going to New Brunswick. Three couples were not sure where they would settle in western Canada. Participants of three interviews wished to move to a major city such as Vancouver. Six wanted to move to smaller urban centers, and nine planned to move to rural areas. 13 Transnational Aspects ~ Dutch Style Anthropologist Arjun Appadurai links the work of the imagination to a constitutive fact of present-day subjectivity (1996a:3). Mass-mediated "scripts for possible lives" (1996a:3) influence the way that people migrate today so that "both the politics of adaptation to new environments and the stimulus to move or return, are deeply affected by a mass-mediated imaginary that frequently transcends national space" (1996a:6). Theoretically important and sweeping, with a Kerouakian sense of global speed, improvisation and freedom in which the individual serves him or herself to the smorgasbord of cultures on offer, and utilizes and hybridizes these with great agency, Appadurai uses the neologism mediascapes to capture the influential mass-mediated dimension of an exiting new transnational reality. Indeed, exposure to media influences the participants greatly. For example, Tim, a 34-year old aspiring immigrant stated that since his youth he has been fascinated with images of the North American "frontier life" portrayed in books and on television. This prompted him a few years ago to sell his house and to re-enact the historic experience of migration to America by starting his first journey like the immigrants of the past. In the spirit of contesting the speed of modern-day travel, he boarded a boat to cross the Atlantic to the US and took nearly half a year to arrive in Canada. Tim spent nearly four months in a small town in the Canadian Rockies to which he intends to return permanently to live out his "best life possible." Whether based on a romantic notion of a migrant experience of the past or not, mass-mediated life scripts and images aid in the development of "plural visions" of the self (Constable 1999:224) that prompt travel to countries such as Canada, which in turn can lead to a decision to immigrate. This new transnational reality is such that the "new global cultural economy [constitutes] a complex, overlapping, disjunctive order that cannot any longer be understood in terms of existing center-periphery models.. ..Nor is it susceptible to simple models of push and pull (in terms of migration theory)" (Appadurai 1996a:32). This is at the same time a world that is more 14 and more entrenched in a political economy based on disorganized capitalism. Since the late 1960s there has been a move away from "the rigidities of Fordism" to a political economy that "rest[s] on flexibility with respect to labour processes, labour markets, products, and patterns of consumption" (Harvey 1990:147). This shift in political economy has led to "certain fundamental disjunctures between economy, culture, and politics" (Appadurai 1996a:33). Yet, these processes, often referred to as a compression of time-space, are not experienced equally by all. In fact, there is a power geometry to time-space compression: "for different social groups, and different individuals, are placed in very distinct ways in relation to these flows and interconnections" (Massey 1994:149). And individual's and social groups' power to engage with these flows is differentiated as well, with the result that "some people are more in charge of it than others; some initiate flows and movement, others don't" (1994:149). Thus, for most Dutch people, living in a Western society that has a high level of infrastructure both in the field of communication and in transportation, and that is highly integrated in the global political economy, the sense of space-time compression is more acute than for people living in less integrated societies with regards to these aspects. For most Dutch people, their power to engage in the flows that are characteristic of time-space compression, such as the act of international movement, is considerable. As I, the mobile ethnographer, traveled from place to place, I learned about the variety of the participants' previous mobility and relocation experiences. Yet these are, of course, not only based on their exposure and engagement with mediascapes. Their experiences point, for instance, to the continuing salience of the fact that "migrants' behaviour is strongly influenced by historical experiences as well as by family...dynamics" (Castles and Miller 2003:24). Indeed, eleven participants had family members of their own or of previous generations who had immigrated to classic immigration countries including Australia and Canada. Their social relations are stretched out geographically (Massey 1994:147) as well as historically. Several 15 migrants seemed to fit the classic phenomenon of chain migration where "social arrangements with people already at destination... [help] newcomers to find jobs and housing" (Moch 2003:17). They had either close friends or close family members in Canada, and they fully expected to live in the vicinity of these people for support during the process of their familiarization with Canadian culture. Massey and his colleagues argue that migration flows are perpetuated "as migration grows in prevalence within a community [and that] it changes values and cultural perceptions in ways that increase the probability of future migration.... Migration becomes deeply ingrained into the repertoire of people's behaviors" (quoted in Brettell 2003:3). In fact, 16 participants had lived outside the Netherlands for extended periods of time. Thus, they form one aspect of what Appadurai terms ethnoscapes or "the landscape of persons who constitute the shifting world in which we live: tourists, immigrants, refugees, exiles, guest workers, and other moving groups and individuals [that] constitute an essential feature of the world" (1996a:33). Eight participants had previously lived in Canada: some had migrated with their parents during their youth and had returned to the Netherlands; some had spent time with family; and, a few had completed part or all of their post-secondary education in Canada. Four participants, who had all been married to Dutch nationals for extended periods of time, had grown up in other countries, including Indonesia and Surinam. Four participants had spent parts of their youth and early adulthood in various European and African countries due to the nature of their parents' employment in governmental and non-governmental organizations. In most cases, the fact that one member of a household had spent time abroad was an impetus for participants to migrate. In addition, many of the participants who had international migration experience had harboured the wish to emigrate for very long periods of time. The fact that a migrant or a migrant's partner had (repeated) migration experience outside the Netherlands was also regarded as an asset that would facilitate settlement in Canada. Yet, this assumption 16 does not always hold true. For instance, Sita who grew up in Surinam and lived in Holland for 12 years before moving to a small city in the Greater Vancouver area with her husband Jan comments, "I thought that moving to Canada would be easier for me because I know what immigration is.. .but I was wrong. It is strange here... .and I have to work very hard to build a new life. I have to start right from the beginning." Often participants had been on an extended vacation to Canada. These holidays sometimes served as preliminary orientation holidays during which they actively sought to acquaint themselves with Canada. Others had returned to Canada after their initial holiday specifically op orientatie (for orientation). These participants related that during these holidays they would look for possible sites for relocation. Some conducted preliminary research for employment and housing possibilities and laid initial, tentative contacts with people that they had met via the Internet. Several had waited to do a first visit to Canada until after they had applied for immigration, arguing that they had obtained enough information via Internet websites specifically geared towards Dutch migration to Canada, consultants, emigration fairs, or international experience to arrive at their decision to emigrate to Canada. For example, Erik, a 32-year old professional who spent part of his childhood in Africa and who had not visited Canada prior to applying for landed immigrant status comments, "I had never been to Zambia before I moved there, and I had a good time. I had never been to Switzerland before I moved there, and I had a good time. You have to have a certain attitude. Accept that it is different, but that that difference is not always worse or better. That is my vision on immigration." As may be clear, a considerable number of participants actively seek out migration as a lifestyle, sometimes in a serial fashion, migrating from one country to another, returning to the Netherlands for longer or shorter periods of time. These practices attest to the value attributed to flexible subjectivity among (aspiring) immigrants (Ong 1999:19). Meike epitomizes this valorized subjectivity. She grew up attending European schools, while living with her parents in 17 various countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, the US and Canada. She and her husband moved to Vancouver several years ago for two purposes: to promote business ties between Canada and the EU, and to profitably continue her business in computer consultancy, an opportunity that she saw waning in the Netherlands and surrounding countries due to high computer literacy. Remarkably, Meike regards herself, due to her extensive travel and living experience abroad, as a non-typical immigrant who is adept and creative in acquiring residency status. She does not intend to give up her Dutch citizenship under any circumstance, because she is convinced that it is a privilege to have Dutch citizenship. "It is not necessary. You are allowed to live here, and you pay your taxes. End of story." She is the quintessential transnational flexible citizen who "[responds] fluidly and opportunistically to changing political-economic conditions" (Ong 1999:6). With an intensified transnational reality and increased migration across the globe especially since the mid-1980s (Castles & Miller 2003:8), migration scholars were confronted with "the inability to conceptualize transnationalism fully," with the then extant theoretical toolkit (Basch et al. 1994:32). Thus, in an effort to go beyond the existing theories (e.g. the push-pull theory of migration), Basch et al. (1994) defined transnationalism as a phenomenon whereby transmigrants "through their daily activities and social, economic, and political relations, create social fields that cross national boundaries" (1994:22). In this definition the authors conflate the concepts of transnationalism and transmigrants™. In addition, they emphasize that migrants construct this transnational existence often as a result of their economic and political vulnerability within the global political economy (1994:27). Recent scholars (Hage 2005; Castles and Miller 2003) have argued that a defining feature of the transmigrant is "that transnational activities are a central part of a person's life. Where this applies to a group of people, one can speak of a transnational community" (Castles & Miller 2003:30). Central in this conceptualization of transmigrants is the presence of a community. Taken from this point of 18 view, very few participants in this study would be considered transmigrants. The "transmigrant" concept is a helpful expansion of the conceptual toolkit in describing many contemporary migration processes. It does, however, not capture the transnational, flexible migration practices of these particular Dutch migrants whose motivations by and large do not stem from a need to improve their economic standard of living through engagement in migration and through the creation of a community that maintains meaningful ties with their country of origin. This is not to say that there are no networks evident in contemporary Dutch migration practices that span both countries, but, rather, that they do not amount to a strong sense of community. Many aspirant migrants are not particularly interested in maintaining meaningful ties with the Netherlands other than with close family and friends. Nor do most recent immigrants seem interested in actively building a strong Dutch community in and around Vancouver. As Dorien who has lived with her husband Lars in Canada for nine years told me: "For quite some time a young Dutch couple lived right on the corner of this street, but we never sought contact with them. Everybody constantly said that we should do this, but no, why should we do that?" Indeed, several participants contest the idea of community building on the basis of one's nationality. The general consensus among participants on both sides of the Atlantic is that people want to immerse themselves in Canadian society, even though they may at times access a Dutch-Canadian website, read a Dutch newspaper or attend an organized Dutch cultural event such as Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) celebrated on the fifth of December. Only a small group of recent immigrants attends a monthly meeting organized by a second generation Dutch-Canadian. It provides an opportunity to speak Dutch, exchange business cards and mingle with Dutch-Canadians and longer term Dutch immigrants who seem genuinely interested in helping recent immigrants along in the settlement process. Several of the older immigrants argue that the weak sense of community among recent Dutch migrants is attributable to the fact that many are quite well-positioned financially, speak English and are "at 19 home in the world". They do not have to rely on fellow immigrants to the extent that the Dutch immigrants of the 1950s and 1960s had to. They have embodied a transnational subjectivity. In the context of a transnational world, several participants actually contested the notion of the immigrant and its connotation of a life act that is profound, permanent, out of the ordinary, and that represents a disjuncture. These were highly educated young professionals who expected to experience few obstacles in the general settlement process and in obtaining employment in Canada. Thus, Dennis (31) and Ria (28), both civil engineers, were ready to leave for their scheduled three to five year sojourn in Vancouver. They have chosen to take this challenge at this particular point in their lives because it leaves the option open to return to the Netherlands (should they wish to do so) without running the risk of compromising their ambitious career goals. They regarded their emigration as "one big adventure" that would satisfy their lifestyle needs built around outdoor sports. They also commented that their actions are "not very unique" given that their friends traveled regularly and that many of their friends spend "a few years abroad." Niels, who will emigrate with his wife, Sabine, and their young child to Calgary, where he hopes to work in the oil and gas industry, comments that there is a difference between immigration and living in another country in the presence of communication devices such as e-mail and webcams with which "you can bring a lot of things close by." The step to emigrate does not seem large, because "you can watch Dutch TV via the Internet should you miss it." In a self-evident manner Niels also adds that "you can take a flight from Calgary to Amsterdam almost every day." Sabine juxtaposes their concept of immigration to the historic conception: "The people who moved in the 1960s, yes, that was a completely different story. I mean first, I believe, you were on a boat for three months and then you had to go a long distance over land if you were moving west." The distance and time of the actual movement process has in a real sense shortened (Harvey 1990) with the rise of the technoscape: "the global configuration.. .of 20 technology and the fact that technology, both high and low, both mechanical and informational, now moves at high speeds across various kinds of previously impervious boundaries" (Appadurai 1996a:34). In this context Sabine finds that the act of emigration is not as heroic as it is even today conceived to be. In fact, the idea of nation-state borders is inconsequential in these narratives: they equate this verhuizing (move) to moving to a different city in the Netherlands seven years ago: "Look, when we came to this town, we had to build everything anew. We did not know anybody, and we see our friends who live in the north of the country only once a year." Thus, as the above examples indicate, the nation-state border provides no great insurmountable obstacle to these participants due to their social and financial capital, and, because of this - in combination with intensified levels of globalization and a reorganization of "the spatial and temporal principles around which social life [is] organized" (Harvey 1990:239) - they embrace the fact that they can easily move across nation-state borders. They can afford to contest the more general notion of emigration. It is, however, fallacious to argue that nation-state borders are withering and migration is unregulated. Canada is actively engaged in regulating its migration flow and competes with other nation-states for skilled workers for permanent settlement and nation-building projects through its expansive immigration policy (Castles & Miller 2003:91). In 1999, for example, more than 50 percent of immigrants entered Canada classed as "skilled workers" (2003:91). Currently, Citizenship and Immigration Canada assesses applications under this class based on a point system, whereby 67 points constitutes the pass mark for obtaining landed status. Points can be obtained through qualifications in six categories. In order of evaluation importance these are: education; English and French language ability; work experience; age; arranged employment; and, adaptability (e.g., education level of accompanying spouse or common-law partners, and presence of family members in Canada) (CIC 2006). In addition, immigrants have to have 21 enough funds, ranging from just over $10,000 for a single person to approximately $25,000 for a family of six to enter Canada (CIC 2006). It is by way of the "skilled worker program" that most participants were either planning to obtain or had obtained residency status/" A third of the interviews that I conducted in the Netherlands was with aspirant immigrants who did not meet the pass mark. Several are not well positioned financially. They lack the required savings to tide them over during the initial settlement period in Canada. Others are not well positioned socially. They lack education, work experience, or do not have the right kind of profession. They are therefore denied the possibility to immigrate. This attests to the fact that the recruitment practices of the Canadian nation-state play an important role in "[structuring] a particular migration stream" (Brettell 2003:43). Only immigrants with a profile that is deemed to be beneficial to Canadian society are recruited. Thus, "even under conditions of transnationality, political rationality and cultural mechanisms continue to... discipline [and] regulate subj ects in place or on the move (Ong 1999:19). The participants who did not meet the pass mark were very determined to improve their chances through upgrading their education, saving funds, gaining more work experience or language proficiency. The frustration experienced about their inability to emigrate was the main focus of the interviews with these participants. For example, after visiting Canada many times, Bas and his wife Anne decided several years ago to apply for immigrant status. But they could not reach the pass mark because Bas, the principal applicant, has mid-level education and insufficient language skills. Yet, not wanting to give up their dream, they tried again in early 2005 and learned that they could reach the pass mark if Bas would improve his language proficiency. Since then, Bas has been learning English diligently. At the end of that summer, he passed the test successfully and applied for immigrant status. Among other participants, one couple wondered if they should change the principal applicant from the wife to the adult daughter who was immigrating with them in the hope that she would gain more points. Another 22 couple had invited me over for an interview, because they wished to gain more information about the immigration process to Canada. They had hoped to immigrate to Australia but, according to them, the admission bar in Australia is set too high for them. Canada was their second option. Indeed, while most participants were quite passionate about wanting to emigrate to Canada in particular and "nowhere else," I interviewed six couples in the Netherlands for whom Canada was not their first immigration country of choice. The decision to immigrate to Canada was a compromise in large part arrived at due to the more restrictive admission policies in countries of their initial choice. Several people had wanted to emigrate to Australia or New Zealand, but did not possess the level of education or type and length of work experience necessary. Others did not have the finances to emigrate to the US. Emigration from the Netherlands was, in these cases, the most important motivating factor, and the participants actively sought out Canada where they thought they stood the best chance of realizing their emigration dream. The fact that these aspirant migrants exhibit creative and strategic agency in navigating the various borders they encounter is well-illustrated with Luuk and Stella's story. This couple in their thirties had just received confirmation that their application for landed residency in Canada had been approved. Over a wonderfully prepared gourmet dinner, Stella and Luuk told me that they had little trouble reaching the stipulated pass mark to enter Canada. They are quite well-off and Luuk is highly educated and has his own software consultancy business. They initially wished to immigrate to the US. Yet they decided in favour of Canada, because acquisition of citizenship status is faster in Canada. It requires a three year permanent settlement minimum as opposed to the required five year period in the US (Weil 2003:17). They considered Canada to be an attractive alternative "because of the free trade zone [NAFTA]. With a Canadian passport you can live and work in the US. So we will start in Canada. Maybe we will stay in Canada, but 23 we also have the opportunity to perhaps live and work in America. The continent opens up for you." For Stella and Luuk, Canadian citizenship wi l l open up the world of flexible citizenship. Evidently, even migration processes that occur between highly developed Western nations are complex both in the mobility patterns leading up to the desire to obtain landed immigrant status in Canada as well as in the conceptualization of what this migration means. Thus, many participants' strategies, including the maintenance of Dutch citizenship so that they may return to Holland at some later point in time, the formulation of immigration to Canada as a temporary stage in life (as long as the experience remains agreeable), the contestation of the concept "immigration," and their considerable life experiences outside of Holland prior to immigration to Canada, challenge the way that transmigration is currently defined. In today's transnational world, these people constitute a different type of transmigrant - they have adopted a transnational subjectivity that they act upon through practices of migration. Dutch migration practices to Canada also provide insight into the differential nature of the power geometry of this particular migration flow: the possibility of immigration to Canada remains restricted for some because of the regulatory practices of the Canadian nation-state, even though these people are part of the Dutch working middle class and enjoy a good standard of l iving. Just like the privileged applicants who are admitted into Canada, the ones who do not pass the mark often embrace a cultural subjectivity that is indicative of the "different sources and domains.. .of flexible concepts and practices in modernity" and that creates a great sense of entitlement to act upon their wish to experience Canadian life (Ong 1999:19). This cultural subjectivity is fostered through mediascapes and a history of migration that has resulted in a heightened significance of the desire to migrate. These social actors have an outward vision that extends to Canada, an attractive alternative to the Netherlands. The next section w i l l address the motivations of the participants for their desire to experience a different life in a Canadian socio-cultural setting that is conceived of as unfamiliar yet familiar when compared to the Netherlands. 24 Motivations The person who decides to relocate to another country performs a transgressive act and makes a statement about the culture he or she is leaving behind, or conversely, about the culture that he or she plans to become a part of. Put another way, "migration is a statement of an individual's worldview, and is, therefore , an extremely cultural event" (Fielding quoted in Brettell 2003:23). With the realization that Holland has experienced a migration deficit in recent years, it seems that the reasons that impel people to migrate are perhaps not individually motivated, but have to be sought in broader socio-cultural factors. Indeed, the narration of the individual has shifted to the narration of the nation (Bhabha 1994) as evidenced by sentiments reflecting that "a country of which the well-educated youth plays with the thought of leaving is a country in nood (at risk, in danger) (De Hoog 2005 :A11). Similarly, the reactions of some of the participants' friends and families expressing indignation and questioning the participants' motivations are framed referencing the nation: "Why do you need to go there! Isn't it good here! The actions of the emigrant create a certain level of uncertainty for the ones who do not entertain thoughts of leaving Holland: "They are leaving. Is there something wrong here in this country?" A dichotomy is created positioning one nation-state in relation to another, whereby the benefits of living in the Netherlands versus the benefits of living in Canada are articulated. It is a dichotomy that also formed the discursive basis of my research framework. It is a dichotomy that quite a few participants contested, preferring to formulate their motivations not so much in terms of opposites, but in relative terms. Feelings and Rationalities in the Search of a New Country The participants' narratives indicate that there is a great tension between the socio-cultural and the individual realms that inform their decision to emigrate. Hage (2005) argues "that the movement we call migration cannot be understood without taking into account [the] 25 relationship between existential and physical movement" (2005:470). Indeed, several narratives indicate that these aspirant migrants "like to feel that 'they are going places'... .It is only when they are 'going nowhere' or 'too slowly' in.. .familiar environments that they start thinking of physical mobility" (2005:470). Yet, for several participants it is very difficult to indicate what instigates these feelings. Thus, several participants contested that there should be concrete socio-cultural reasons to leave. They first and foremost articulate their motivations at the individual level. Sam and Sylvia are a case in point. This couple is in their forties. They are in the process of applying for landed immigrant status and plan to emigrate with their 18- and 19-year-old daughters and infant grandson. As we were sitting at a big table in the back living room of their house, the grandson crying in the background, they told me that they had been thinking about leaving for 12 years. "A very long time," Sylvia added. Immediately Sam added, "but that is the problem, I think that it is also more a feeling. Of course you are always looking for reasons once you have taken the decision, right? Like I dislike traffic jams. Those are all standard reasons, right? Like criminality. Of course, there is a kernel of truth to that, but we are no fools. When you drive into Calgary, there will be traffic jams too." In this narrative Dutch and Canadian society are constructed as being comparable: there will not be a real difference in traffic jams or criminality. Not being able to present a culturally and socially acceptable reason to justify their decision, they resort to the intangible, a feeling. Some participants were more vocal about needing "to be 'going places'" (Hage 2005:470). For instance, Max, who is ready to emigrate to Vancouver with his wife Maud and eight-year-old son relates, in a matter of fact manner, how he noticed that when he reached the age of 40 he wished to do something different with his life. "Your work goes well, your family goes well. It all goes too smoothly and to do this for the next 20 years here, then I think, come on, you have to give your life a push. You have to start to build something again. Build something different. That's actually been the biggest motivator for me." It is the ennui of the 26 familiar and the thrill of the unfamiliar, of uncertainty, that is sought. It is conceptualized as an adventure to be undertaken in "another geographical space [that] is a better launching pad for [the] existential self (Hage 2005:470). For these participants, after the idea of, as Erik expressed, "wanting to experience something more of what the world has to offer" was formulated, the search for another geographical area starts. Contrary to most other participants, Erik was very explicit about his ensuing research to find a new country that had to strike a clear balance between the socio-culturally familiar and the unfamiliar. While not everyone approaches the search for a new country in such a systematic manner, (their decision to emigrate to Canada being informed by, for instance, chain migration) his research is worth noting because it reflects underlying, often less explicitly verbalized qualities, that attract Dutch migrants to Canada. As he explained, And then you start to think, where would we like to go? Well, then you start to research all sorts of countries. For me, I don't find most countries in Europe foreign countries, because they are very comparable countries [to Holland]. Or, they are countries where I would not want to live....We wanted to go to a country that is very easy in its acceptance of foreigners. Personally, I had wanted to go to South-Africa, but.. .it is a country that is -so in flux. There is so much criminality and insecurity... .And, I wanted to go to a country that has a lot of nature, a lot of space, a lot of freedom. And, then, my parents went to Canada on a holiday and they told us that it is a very nice country. So, I began reading about Canada. Another demand is that the country has to have a liberal climate. So, the US was not an option.. .because there is a lot of economic freedom but no social freedom. Australia too is not that free in that regard. And in this way the options fall away. And, actually, Canada is the country that matches all our demands. Clearly, the individual actor, answering his or her own existential call to mobility, is always situated within society. The themes defining Canada as a country that accepts foreigners, that has an abundance of nature and space (and therefore freedom), and that has a certain socio-cultural climate are aspects that return over and again in the participants' narratives as these are juxtaposed to the socio-cultural situation in the Netherlands. 27 Narrative Discourses on Immigrant Issues, Racialization and Multiculturalism In the context of recent politicization of immigrant issues in Holland, I was curious to what extent the various alarming news media reports that link these developments and a rise in emigration applications to Canada held true (Saunders 2005). I wanted to know if a "perpetual motion machine" is being created whereby immigrants "from one nation move to another, creating new instabilities there, which cause.. .social unrest and thus more social exits" (Appadurai 1996b:338). And, if there was indeed a link, the research sought to learn how people perceive a difference, if at all, between Dutch and Canadian society, given that both countries are, as one participant observed, "societies that are made up of all sorts of populations from all sorts of countries." Several participants outright dismissed the idea that the current politicization of immigrant issues informed their decision to emigrate. For instance, Erik argued that Canada has its own problems with Indigenous people who are systematically discriminated against. He found "it really wrong" to base one's decision to emigrate on these issues. Yet, the narratives of approximately half the participants indicate that the current politicization in the Netherlands directly or indirectly affects their decision to immigrate to Canada. The few participants who are allochtone were the most vocal about this issue. While most participants who are already in „ Canada did not live in the Netherlands during the last several years, several voiced sentiments of dismissal, distantness and relief that they "did not have anything to do with dat gedoe met buitenlanders (that issue about foreigners)." Meike, who was adopted from Pakistan, thought that the Dutch are "relatively neutral," an aspect that she has always liked about the Netherlands. She did however "notice the first racist tendencies after 9/11" directed towards her in Holland, something that she found very sad. And, even though she moved to Vancouver for business purposes, she "finds the current climate [in Holland] indeed quite akelig (grim, disagreeable)." 28 Several respondents were hesitant to discuss the politicization of immigrant issues, and showed a great deal of conflict about the socio-cultural changes in the Netherlands that they have witnessed in their life time. This was the case with Linda, a university student, and her partner. They were in the process of applying for landed immigrant status and were planning to emigrate in order to lead a quiet life in rural Ontario. They were adamant that they did not wish to place the Netherlands in a bad light, and during our interview Linda identified and stressed several times, verbatim, all the positive, stereotypical aspects through which Dutch society is 1 discursively narrated: "it is a very rich country with all its chances, all its possibilities, its freedom, democracy and tolerance." She further stated that, judging from the number of people who choose to make Holland their home, the country has a lot to offer to newcomers. However, Linda did concede that she has experienced a noticeable change in the general mentaliteit over the last several years. She finds it increasingly difficult to make contact with people, because people are bangig (somewhat scared). She finds that people "hide themselves" after the second political murder to take place in centuries, an event that has affected her and her partner enormously, in particular in the realization that freedom of expression is not as free as they perceived it to be. Linda relates, Well, I think it is like this: the Netherlands has always been a country of immigration. Many people have come here. And eh, but groups have come whose values and norms are diametrically opposed to the western democratic ideal, and it is just very difficult to let these groups live together in society. And that is actually, yes, for years it has been denied, the problem of the multicultural society, and I think that as Dutch people we have just been very naive in this. But there are just a whole lot of problems. I mean, all those people of allochtone background, they all live - they all make up part of the lowest layer of the population. They have little education, they 'hang' in achterstandswijken (underprivileged neighbourhoods). So, the entire integration process has failed. Unfortunately. I mean, I want Turkish and Moroccan neighbours, great! But for one reason or another you see more and more segregation... .But you are not allowed to talk about this, and yes, you notice that that just gives a whole lot of stress in society. And I have certain feelings about this: that one day it is going to crash. Not that there will be civil war or anything like that, but the saamhorigheid (social cohesion) is not here [anymore]. 29 Linda is clearly critical of the government's 1980s policy that was based on a multicultural ideology. She supports this by highlighting the present-day reality of growing inequality/1" Drawing on the current immigrant incorporation ideology of integration whereby all groups in society ought to work towards a nation-building project ideal based on democratic inclusion, she laments that socio-economic and geographical segregation is increasingly a fact of life.lx Thus, in this narrative, a historical comparison is made between a nation that until recently managed to cohere, as Bhabha describes, "the scraps, patches and rags of daily life.. .into the sign of a coherent national culture" (1994:209), and the current situation where the previous discourse of a multicultural society unified through a national narrative is faltering in reality. The diminishing saamhorigheid that Linda observes and experiences is urgent enough that the government's advisory board" concerned with social participation and stability is redefining its discourse about what it means to belong to the Dutch nation-state. Its goal is to embark on "a 'search' for narratives*1 in which the minorities also recognize themselves. Especially in a society where there is room for diversity, it is important to combine this diversity in shared narratives" (RMO 2005:60). In an attempt to maintain its legitimacy, the state is appealing to "the founding dictum of the political society of the modern nation.. .out of many one" (Bhabha 1994:204). Yet, a few participants were not particularly in favour of inclusion predicated on cultural diversity. They openly related that the current immigrant situation in Holland is an important factor in their decision to emigrate. Thus, Rieneke who is just about to immigrate to New Brunswick with her husband and three teenaged children, commented that she has observed that there is less criminality in the rural area in New Brunswick where she intends to live. In the same train of thought she states, Criminality here. Yes, I notice that the youth positions itself very strangely here. I find, they call them 'aso-youth', 'hang-youth' and you know what I find very much, I find that we are bothered by Muslim youth and I have the feeling that I did not see one Muslim 30 there, or, in any case, that that religion does not dominate in Canada. And here you have many, well, Turkish and Moroccan youth who, yes I find, they dominate and they are being very difficult. Over here [in this town] it is still good. There are not that many, uhm, foreigners. I will soon be a foreigner myself, but I mean foreigners with an entirely different belief and culture. In this narrative criminality is connected to youth of a particular kind, namely those who are constructed as being anti-social (i.e., aso), not partaking in society as they 'hang around,' goal-less, in parking lots, small parks and shopping centers, whiling away their time. This type of anti-social behaviour is immediately connected to Muslim youth who are constructed as being strange and as foreigners. In addition, according to the narratives I collected, these youth actively position themselves outside the Dutch social body through their anti-social, unproductive behaviour. Interestingly, these youth are not significantly present in Rieneke's area of residence, an area that is constructed as unproblematic. Clearly, the dominant, stereotypical Dutch imagery whereby "criminality is an expression of [the Muslim youth's] distinctive culture" (Gilroy 1987:109) is ideologically strong. In fact, during this discussion Rieneke remembered that she had just received a brochure in the mail. She presented me with this brochure that advertised the mandate of a political party called "Houden van Nederland" [Loving the Netherlands]. It is a party that feeds on an anti-immigrant discourse. Even though she was careful to state that she did not fully support their right-wing political agenda, she showed me this brochure in part to inform me about the right-wing discourses present in Holland, and in part to confirm that her attitude towards immigrants was not uncommon. In comparing Holland and Canada, Rieneke focuses more concretely on what she regards as the crux of these youth's problems, namely their being unable to adapt to Dutch society because they are Muslim. Rieneke's narrative exemplifies a politics of culture (Benhabib 2002), whereby cultural differences among groups are essentialized and have become increasingly indicative of a notion of irreconcilable differences between the cultural practices of immigrant groups and native inhabitants. She argues that it is the onus of the immigrant, "the guest," to 31 adapt to the norms and values of the host country. She positions herself as a prospective foreigner who plans to 'Canadianize' as soon as possible. She further states that she will not have a noticeably different belief and culture from Canadians, who live in a country that is not dominated by the Muslim religion. In other words, Canada is imagined as a liberal-democratic society where the practices of Islamic religious minorities do not clash with the western ideology that upholds "basic human, civil, and political rights" (Benhabib 2002:111). The interpretation and application of these liberal-democratic principles seem to constitute a coherent whole in Canada. A sense of the decreased tolerance and exclusion towards "foreigners" was evident in the narratives of the participants who are non-white. I met Michelle, a 23-year-old Dutch women of Dutch-Chinese heritage, one overcast afternoon towards the end of my stay in the Netherlands. I had already conducted all my planned interviews when I received an e-mail from her that she wished to be part of my research. She met me at the train station in the city where she lives. While we were walking to the cafe where we would be holding our interview, she could not stop talking about Toronto, where she had been on student exchange for four months. She had fallen "in love with Toronto" instantly. Once in the cafe, I asked what she found so enticing about Toronto. Immediately she answered, In the first place, it is a melting pot. So, you have all those cultures. And they do not live alongside each other, but they really live with each other. I especially like the fact that everyone respects each other. Here I have a lot of trouble when I walk on the street, that people call me nihou or nihoma. I really feel like an allochtone here. And there, there you just are. You are just a Canadian. You are not a Turk or a Hindu, and I appreciate that. Everybody socializes with everybody. Curious to know more, I asked her if she found it so different in the Netherlands. She then, quizzically asked me if I had heard about the recent 'developments' in the Netherlands. I asked her to which developments she was referring. "Well the murder of Theo van Gogh for example. Now you have the Turkish, Moroccan, Islamic culture against Dutch culture." She told me how it 32 is really noticeable on the streets, and that "it has made the 'atmosphere' very grim." Michelle's narrative also reflects several other participants' observations of increased racialization. For example Irene, who is married to an Indonesian reflected that this racialization "begins to affect everyone who is dark." In addition, Michelle's narrative reflects several other participants' ideas of, and experiences in Canada as a country that is able to "resolve the contradiction of differentiation and unity" (Basch et al 1994:36). These narratives, based on a discourse that values integration (Michelle's melting pot), indicate that Canada's policies of multiculturalism are seen to have led to a certain level of social cohesion. In Canada, people are perceived to be 'Canadian first' and therefore perceived to be racially unmarked (Mackey 2000). Maud, an Indonesian who has lived in the Netherlands for fifteen years, also finds that there is a certain 'fanaticism' in the Netherlands and that foreigners are excluded. Her husband, Max, concurs with this and states that he often has the idea that there is a verdringersmarkt (competitive market), whereby foreigners are constructed as people who take away employment from Dutch people. While they have not been to Canada yet, they have the feeling that Canadians' attitudes towards foreigners will be more inclusive and tolerant. They plan to live in Vancouver, in part because of it being known for multiculturalism. Having lived in Indonesia for four years in the past, Max "find[s] it a 'plus point' that there are many [people] from China and Hong Kong." He finds a society defined by cultural pluralism "more enjoyable than a purely Western [society]" and more dynamic. In contrasting Vancouver and the Netherlands, Max constructs the Netherlands as an insular Western society that has difficulty to be inclusive, while he juxtaposes this to a modern hybrid Canadian city that is able to incorporate people from the West and beyond. The idea that Canada is a country of immigrants that has created a social dynamic in which unity, tolerance and respect is secured "in and through (not despite) differences" (Hall quoted in Basch et al. 2004:35) is key to the construction of Canada as an inclusive society. 33 Ironically, while these participants seem to wish to distance themselves from the politicization of issues related to immigrants, it necessitates the construction and historical reproduction of Canada as terra nullius. In various forms, the fact that there are Indigenous populations in Canada is played down in the participants' narratives. Thus, one participant argues that "there is no original volk (people)" in Canada, while another argues that the Indigenous population is insignificant: "You have Indians and such, but it is a country of immigrants." Another participant states, "the local, the real native Canadians are actually the Indians, but let's say what we see as native Canadians, the mix of all those French, English, and Dutch people, well, wherever they are from." The affirmation that all people are immigrants and all people are "new to Canada" seems to be a necessary discursive construction in the making of Canada as an appealing liberal nation that "has 'citizenship', civil and legal rights, political rights and duties, and socioeconomic rights as ideals" (Mackey 2000:157), and where a more inclusive, a more level playing field is apparent. The narratives of these particular participants indicates that there is a certain level of truth to the observation that the migration of Muslims to the Netherlands informs migration from the Netherlands to Canada. Interestingly, most of the participants wish to distance themselves from increased racialization and the current politicization of socio-cultural issues pertaining to the co-habitation of these ethnic groups and native Dutch people. Thus, their emigration is a form of opposition to these developments. Linda's partner, Emma, expressed an important point: "I think that once we are living in the rural area of Ontario, we will be able to keep those things away from us." As was the case with several other participants, a connection is made between increasing racialization and the politicization of immigrant issues and the tight physical space in the Netherlands. For example, in discussing the Dutch multicultural society Sylvia reflects on the future for her Dutch-Antillean grandson. "And we live on top of each other here, too many people here in this small country. The frustration and the problems are becoming bigger and 34 bigger, and I think that the future will not be very nice for my grandson here." There is a sense that, due to the country's dense population, the Netherlands is full - a reality that some participants argue aggravates the situation. This in turn is compared to the availability of physical space in Canada, an important quality of Canada that I will discuss in the next section. Narrative Discourses about Space In The Production of Space, Henri Lefebvre (1991 [1974]) explores how social spaces are produced throughout history. He argues that each social space such as economic, sociological, political, ecological, and physical space "correspondfs] to a specific use of that space, and hence to a spatial practice that they express and constitute (1991:8 & 16). His aim is to bring these various kinds of spaces together within a single theory by "decoding" or reading the signification of already produced spaces (1991:17). To this end he introduces a conceptual triadic framework that is irreducible and dialectic. The individual prongs of this framework consist of spatial practices, representations of space, and representational space. First, spatial practice encompasses the mode of production and reproduction (Lefebvre 1991:33). Spatial practices "are over time concretized in the built environment and in the enduring character of the landscape" (Macnaghten and Urry 1998:172). Importantly, spatial practice "embodies a close association, within perceived space, between daily reality (daily routine) and urban reality (the routes and networks which link up the places set aside for work, 'private' life and leisure) (Lefebvre 1991:38). Second, there are representations of space, (or conceived space) "which are tied to the relations of production" (1991:38). These are "conceptualized space, the space of scientists, planners, urbanists, technocratic subdividers and social engineers..." (1991:38). Third, representational spaces (or spaces of representation) include "space as directly lived through its associated images and symbols, and hence the space of 'inhabitants' and 'users'" (1991:38). In addition, "these include symbolic differentiations and collective fantasies focused around space; 35 the resistance to the dominant spatial practices; and the various modes of individual and collective transgression of existing space" (Macnaghten and Urry 1998:172). Issues related to spatial practice and spaces of representations are most urgently present in the participants' narratives as they reflect on the way that daily routines and the urbanization of their country compares to spatial practice in Canada, and as they imagine and symbolize each country as a society anchored in a specific spatial configuration. Their narratives confirm that "every society...produces a space, its own space" (Lefebvre 1991:31). And, because the participants situate themselves as actors who transgress or plan to transgress 'Dutch space,' their reflective narratives about their experiences related to the work environment, the built environment, as well as nature illuminates the way that Canadian and Dutch spatial configurations contribute to the migration flow from Holland to Canada. In relation to spatial practice, and in particular the space of work, most participants in Holland were content with the wage that they earned. Yet, they were critical about the way that their participation in the labour force negatively affects them in their day-to-day lives. Several participants commented about the way that current work culture restricted them in leading a qualitatively good life. This was often described as being able to take time for oneself and one's family. Sandra, a mother of two young children in her mid-thirties, explains that she thinks that Canada will be a country that "fits better" to her family's needs to lead a quieter, less stressed life. She has not been to Canada and references the Netherlands to explain her frustration. It is a society characterized by its "gejaag en gevlieg en geren en gesjees" [hunting and flying and running]: an idiom that symbolizes Holland as a stressful, fast space. She is highly critical of the fact that her "husband works 60 hours per week. And that is just very normal. And sometimes when he wants to come home for lunch, it is not allowed. Well, that is no life. That just is not nice." She further comments that her husband is not really able to be part of the family, because he only gets to spend five minutes at night with the children before they have to go to bed. It is 36 this alienation within the family as a consequence of her husband's wage labour that she hopes to be able to mend by moving to the countryside in Alberta. Like many other participants, she expects that her family's earnings will not improve in Canada - quite the opposite. The ones who wish to move to the countryside and "slow down" argue that they will need fewer material goods which will off-set their expected loss in earnings. Sandra, like two other mothers, also does not wish to burden her children with the social pressure that she perceives is expected in raising her children in a performance-oriented, competitive society. These mothers were particularly concerned that their children's character and learning abilities did not fit with current cultural expectations in Dutch society, and that their children would be ill-positioned in adulthood in a society where possession of the right type of educational degree and character is crucial in building a comfortable lifestyle. Commenting on the contemporary Dutch work ethic Linda comments that it has changed in recent years. She states that she has trouble "maintaining" herself in Holland. She finds that in order to do well in the labour market, one has to be "sharp," assertive, well versed in the "rules of play," and think of oneself only. She notices that a certain dishonesty and lack of integrity in the workplace, that was frowned upon in the past, is now regarded as an essential trait in furthering one's career. She asserts, "and I can't do anything with that. When I have to partake in that, it is so different from my nature that it is really better to retreat. It is too, too, too fast here." In addition to a life imagined as slower paced, a retreat to the Canadian countryside is equated with the possibility to maintain personally important values and characteristics. Several other participants also commented on the way that deregulation in the labour market and reorganizations at their work had negatively affected them. Bas, for instance, was asked by his boss to be creative about the fact that he is now on call two weeks out of five. "It actually means a 24-hour workday.. .1 cannot deal with this creatively.. .and it is mentally a very big obstacle.. .yes, it restricts me in my freedom. And I have trouble with that." These examples 37 highlighting stress, an experience of a speeding up of life, and competitiveness indicate that several participants experience a shift in the Dutch labour market that is restricting their sense of freedom. Many participants imagined and experienced Canada as a social space that is more "relaxed," and where, as Sandra commented, a respectful attitude of "live and let live" towards lifestyles not centered around competitiveness still exists. Other participants commented on the inflexibility of the Dutch work environment. They commented that social stratification through age grades and a highly regulated entrepreneurial "climate" limited them in attaining their goals. Anouk is 33 and lives in Vancouver. She is very ambitious and has done her post-secondary education in Canada. She comments that, had she lived in the Netherlands, she would never have had the freedom, support and the flexibility to realize her dreams of starting her own business and working in upper management at a large corporation. Here, there are people who are ready to help you, who have an open attitude. 'You have an ambition: go for it!' And I really need that. There are more rules and protocols in the Netherlands about how you can climb up. And, people see the Netherlands as a very liberal and social country where everything is possible (and that is perhaps true for many things), but I find that with regards to making a career and being in school it is very restricted. It is always by the rules and very formal. For several participants in their late forties the fact that age is culturally less important in the Canadian workforce is an important reason to emigrate to Canada. In fact, some commented that in Canada age is often regarded as an asset, whereas in the Netherlands it is regarded as a liability that restricts their options. These participants' narratives indicate that a tension exists around regulation and de-regulation. On the one hand, there are participants who have difficulty reconciling themselves with a shift in Dutch political economy from one based on an economic theory of the welfare state to one increasingly taking a neoliberal course, as evidenced by, for example, increasing deregulation and individual responsibility. On the other hand, there are those who find the Dutch 38 work environment and the "entrepreneurship climate" too regulated and therefore overly restrictive. Rieneke explains this tension. "You know, all the social programs that were once super, they are now slowly taking everything away." It is the memory of better times against the reality of a crumbling social welfare state that irks her. While she has two small home-based businesses, she has recently been laid off from her job as an administrative assistant. She has to abide by "laughable," "absurd" and "insulting" rules to find any type of employment up to an hour's drive away from her home. Given her reference point of the older framework of the social welfare state this does not make sense to her. She finds it only logical that she resists. "I can't change anything here, so I have to leave." She is, however, fully aware that social programs are not "rosy" in Canada. Yet she comments that at least she is making a conscious choice to live in Canada where she can start her own business without being restricted by the numerous, cumbersome and difficult to understand Dutch business rules and regulations. The bureaucracy hinders her in the proper management and growth of her two small businesses in Holland. This is a reality that other business owning participants also voiced. In relation to their experience in the Dutch space of work, almost all participants commented on the urbanized environment that they were confronted with during their commutes to and from work. Dissatisfaction ranged from increased aggressiveness and disrespect experienced in traffic to a dislike of constant traffic jams. Dennis, for example, found that "It is ridiculous that it takes me a minimum of an hour, twice a day, to drive a road trajectory of 25 kilometers.... Well, that becomes displeasing. It is maybe reasonable. But in the winter, well, if I leave here at seven o'clock, the entirety of the Netherlands is gridlocked. Well, I find that bizarre." In a country where these traffic jams often amount to 250 kilometers of gridlock, it is not surprising that Dennis shows displeasure, and expresses his reality as alienating. It is also not surprising that it prompts people to search for another geographic space where there may be traffic jams, but where these are not nearly as paralyzing as in Holland. The above narratives 39 indicate that Canada's spatial practice is perceived to offer more ruimte (room, space) for the individual both in defining one's contribution in the workforce and in their daily practice as they negotiate the infrastructure that links up their places of work and private life (Lefebvre 1991:38). Another important theme in the participants' narratives is the sense that they lack time and space for leisure activities. Lefebvre argues that the emergence of leisure-oriented space (i.e., space designated as a "non-work" space) is a consequence of the rise of the capitalist mode of production in which workspace and leisure space came to be separated. These different symbolic spaces, one associated with the quantitative aspects of "major industrial agglomerates" (Lefebvre 1991:58), and one associated with the qualitative aspects of leisure life (the non-work space), have become hierarchically ordered locations, whereby people's engagement in productive processes in the quantitative space is off-set by the consumption of leisure space. In several ways, the participants indicate that they contest the separation of these two spaces and expect there to be a better possibility to integrate these in Canada by, for example, combining business and hobbies. Thus, by starting a Bed and Breakfast in combination with being a fishing guide or in combination with a having a dog kennel, or by opening a company geared towards adventure tourism, they were planning to bridge the separate spaces of "'private' life and leisure" (Lefebvre 1991:38). Often a prerequisite for the pursuit of the dream to have more leisure time and space is the wish to own more land. Indeed the fact that in many areas of Canada land is cheaper than in the Netherlands is an important motivating factor for people to emigrate. Most participants in the Netherlands live in densely populated, urbanized spaces and they wish to improve their sense of leisure by purchasing a house surrounded by a parcel of land in Canada. They can trade their small row homes for a larger living space in Canada. For instance, Mariska, a married mother of two young children, plans to move to a rural area in Alberta. Her row home is situated in a typical, densely populated nieuwbouw (newly built) neighbourhood. Several years ago they 4 0 moved from the Randstad to the east of the country to escape the busy pace of life and constant traffic jams. While they had looked forward to some peace and quiet, she comments that within five years the situation had changed, It has become so busy here and so many houses have been built. Yes, in this town, they have built a very big project. Now they are building 2,500 houses on that side [of the highway] and they have plans to build two more housing projects on the other side of the highway. And it all has to be along the same road. Well, that is going to become a mess... the entire stretch between this town and the next will almost be completely "shut" with buildings. Like several other participants, Mariska laments this imminent urbanization and is critical of what Lefebvre refers to as the "planners and urbanists" (Lefebvre 1991:38) who are shaping the Dutch landscape to the point where day-to-day life is becoming unpleasant. Moving to the lesser populated northern provinces of the Netherlands is not an option for Mariska, because real estate there is unaffordable. She comments that, in those provinces, land is mainly accessible for "rich people from the Randstad who are willing to travel back and forth to work." Thus, whereas some can afford to purchase land in the Netherlands, for others this option is not feasible. In order to have an enjoyable house surrounded by a small parcel of land, which they find would improve their quality of life, they have to expand their horizon to Canada where land is still relatively inexpensive. Respondents often use hyperbole in commenting on the near absence of leisure-oriented, qualitative space that the participants argue is important for their well being. Thus, several people related in near verbatim fashion how difficult it is to access designated recreational areas given that "a hundred million people" want to access the same space, and that once there, "you have to walk over the heads." Jan, for example, happy with his life in the Vancouver area, sums up the difference of leisure-oriented space in Canada and Holland: Well, here I think that it is still ongerepter (more pristine), because here I know quietness. In the Netherlands it is often the case that if you go to the dunes, well, there would be a whole lot of people. And it is very difficult to park your car, and yes, I think if it was really a beautiful day, then it is busier on the beach in Holland than it is here on 41 Boxing Day in the mall. Here [close to his home] we sometimes see a motorcyclist at the beginning of the trail, but other than that, there is absolutely no one. So, that is very unique. The conflation of leisure-oriented space with the idea of nature, peaceful quietness and well-being is a dominant theme in the participants' narratives. Thus, recreational nature areas in Holland are often starkly juxtaposed to nature areas in Canada. Participants often concede that "there are beautiful pieces of nature" in Holland, but the fact that these are small designated parts of the country that are manufactured and carefully maintained, negates their identification as "real" nature. Sandra provides the example of "The Green Heart" in the Randstad: "These are manufactured pastures where subsidized cows graze. Well that makes me really sick to my stomach. Yes, that isn't real, is it? No, that is just not real." It is this near absence of non-manufactured nature, a manifestation of the historic capitalist political-economic process whereby more and more space has been usurped at the expense of nature (Macnaghten & Urry 1998:172), that the participants contest. Canada, symbolized as a spacious country that in addition to urban areas also has mountains and wilderness and "real" nature, is the antidote to the Dutch quantitative space. It is often not enough for people to seek out natural surroundings during their holidays. In the context of the need to experience more spacious, quiet and natural surroundings, Max states "what is important to me is the possibility of being able to easily slip away out of the busi-ness. And that is something that is very difficult in the Netherlands. Wherever you drive to here, it is and remains busy. You have to drive all the way to the east of Poland, before it becomes a little quieter. Well, that is a very far drive." This ability to slip away, and to recharge is also highly prized by Lars and his family who live in a suburb of Vancouver. His wife comments, I think that here there is a good balance between relaxing and stress. We live a relatively stressed life, especially because we both work and have children. And to be able to drive half an hour and to be in a quiet environment in the mountains, in nature, away from all the busi-ness, and to be able to be in a completely different environment, even if it is for 42 just a little while, before we go back to the city, yes that is a lot easier here than in Holland. Thus, the abundance and easy access of "nature" in close proximity to an urban reality is key. It is a quality of Canada that Tim, who sojourned in Canada for several months, "just find[s] a psychological advantage." The participants compare Dutch social space with Canadian social space and have come to the conclusion, as Bas explains, "that it is becoming one big mess in this country [Holland].. .yes, suddenly I say, the feeling creeps up that we live with too many people on too small a piece of land. And that gives me a feeling of unrest. I have decided several years ago that I want, I want to escape this." The perception of increased stress, chaos, competitiveness, individualism, deregulation in the labour market, yet over-regulation for entrepreneurs, and a perceived lack of qualitative space necessary to recharge and maintain one's well-being culminate in dissatisfaction as the various spaces (i.e., perceived, conceived, and lived) that inform Dutch social space overlap and inform each other. These aspects are juxtaposed with a Canadian social space that provides more space. Canada is not necessarily perceived as a Utopia (even though Bas states that "it is just completely the promised land"). Indeed, many participants were keen to stress that this is not so; the juxtaposition of the two countries has to be viewed in a relative sense. Due to its abundance as well as its variety of spaces, Canadian society is in many ways perceived to be better suited to them than Dutch society in the sense that more physical space translates into more relaxed and respectful social and cultural relations. 43 Conclusion In the age of migration (Castles and Miller 2003:5) where most people are mobile because their life chances are diminished or threatened by, for example, economic or political hardship, recent Dutch migration to Canada exemplifies a migration flow where these aspects are no longer the centre point of migration. This migration flow is, by and large, an expression of -as Tim explains - "a problem of luxury. We have the chance to live out our dreams." As such, this particular migration flow foregrounds other aspects that impel people to migrate, and elucidates new considerations for migration studies that are situated within a transnational framework. This research has shown the importance of media, technology, and a (family) history of international travel experience in contributing to people's "new mode of constructing identity, as well as new modes of subjedification that cut across political borders" (Ong 1999:19). Among many participants, immigration to Canada is no longer defined by understandings of migration that signify a clear rupture with the home country. Many participants find comfort and assurance in a more flexible conceptualization of their migration that includes the option to return to the Netherlands, or to move to yet another country. Thus, in adopting a transnational subjectivity that they, act upon through practices of migration, their actions certainly raise questions about the way that transmigrants are currently conceptualized in migration studies. This research has also shown that, in a transnational context, "different regimes of truth and power.. .set structural limits to such flexible productions and subjectivities" (1999:19). Migration is structured and stratified as the Canadian government selects the immigrant candidates with the best potential for its nation-building project. Dutch aspirant immigrants cite a lack of specific education or language skills prized by the Canadian government as impediments. The Dutch cultural logics prompting people to immigrate to Canada are by and large articulated through the historical common Dutch self-image that constructs Holland as a country 44 that is "full." Under this rubric the participants in the Netherlands and in Canada expressed a dislike of increased competitiveness, stress, chaos, individualism, and labour market changes. Interestingly, and in contrast to popular sentiments, most participants did not single out the politicization of immigration issues as an important enough reason for them to emigrate. Despite the sentiments that participants actually express, most go out of their way to downplay the significance of social problems that they identify as being associated with immigrants who make different claims to culture in Dutch society. They do this by pointing to other themes, such as issues related to space and nature, and by praising Canada for its successful multicultural policies. Overall, Dutch migration to Canada is often informed by a sense of "oppositionality" (Schein 1998:293) to the social space in Holland. Living in Canada is perceived to be much like living in Holland in the sense that both countries are prosperous Western nation-states based on liberal democratic principles. The difference is relative; it lies in the Dutch (aspirant) immigrants' perception and experience of Canada as a social space where life is less stressful and where social relations are friendlier and more respectful. This is attributed to the presence and abundance of both qualitative and quantitative spaces that provide for greater variety in defining their best life possible. The presence of qualitative space in Canada provides at least the possibility to escape, even if this is temporarily, from increasing busi-ness associated with the spatial practice of disorganized capitalism. For Dutch immigrants to Canada the search for ruimte (mental and physical space) and the perceived associated benefits is the main motivating factor to move to Canada. 4 5 Endnotes: 1 The Randstad is "a conurbation of nearly seven million people that includes the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, and Utrecht and their surrounding suburbs" (Fainstein 2001:290). " This term was introduced by the Scientific Advisory Body for Government Policy [Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid] in 1989. It is widely used, has a negative connotation (RMO 2005:17), and glosses in common parlance as 'foreigners of colour.' 111 See Entzinger (2004) for detailed discussion of the European political philosophical context that has contributed to, and has coincided with this shift in narrative discourse. r v Most of this migration flow is directed towards Belgium and Germany (CBS 2005b). v See Ter Bekke et al. (2005). V 1 Nina Glick Schiller later reformulated her thinking about transnationalism and discerned between transnational cultural studies, globalization studies, and transnational migration studies (Brettell 2003:48). v" A few participants applied via the family class category. 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