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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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


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.

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