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What residents think of the Dutch social system


JANUARY 1 – 15,1997

What residents think of the Dutch social system

By Ashali Varma

THE HAGUE, Netherlands—The Pakistani taxi driver had migrated to the Netherlands 15 years ago and thought the Dutch way of life was very good.  “You don’t want for anything here and the people are very nice, “he said.  He said that if a person lost a job, he or she would get unemployment benefits and could even request additional help to keep a home where the mortgage payments may be too high for an unemployed person.

“They have a good health care system where you pay a nominal amount from your salary and the rest is taken care of.   Everyone is entitled to health care.  And the government gives 100 guilders a month for every child in the Netherlands.”

The only complaint he had was that perhaps the Dutch policy on drugs is too liberal. “I see many of the people who migrate here getting into the drugs scene.” He said that soft drugs like marijuana could be bought off the counter and the penalties for hard drugs were not strict enough.

Another view came from the Dutch owner of a small hotel. He thought too many people were seeking citizenship in the Netherlands. “There is more poverty now as many of the people who come here don’t work, but live off welfare and get into drugs.” He thought that petty crime had gone up because of this.  He also thought that some of the  government’s policies were too liberal.

The Indian partner of a multinational company based in the Netherlands said it was the best place to live in all of Europe. “The people are very nice, friendly, honest and straightforward.”

However, as a businessman he thinks that the taxes are too high. “The Dutch can’t continue to have such a liberal social welfare policy. I do think that this will become a very heavy burden on the state,” he said.