Amsterdam's majority migrant population is not evidence of the 'Great Replacement'

By: Arron Williams
May 21 2024

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Amsterdam's majority migrant population is not evidence of the 'Great Replacement'


The Verdict Misleading

Amsterdam's population does have a migrant majority, but this is not sufficient to suggest that the white population is being replaced.

Claim ID 8aa59574


At the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2024, the Dutch far-right activist Eva Vlaardingerbroek claimed that the so-called "Great Replacement" is real, migrants are replacing that white Europeans, and that there will be "less white people" in Europe. She shared migrant statistics from the Netherlands to support her claim. 

Vlaardingerbroek claims that Amsterdam's population is 56 percent migrants. She also made similar claims about other Dutch cities, stating the Hague has a population of 58 percent migrants and Rotterdam has a migrant population of 60 percent. 

However, Vlaardingerbroek's claims misinterpret the statistics available. While the figures are accurate, the data does not suggest that migrants are replacing "white people" or that migration figures are evidence of the "Great Replacement," a xenophobic far-right conspiracy theory that immigrants are replacing white people in their native countries.

In Fact

Official statistics from January 1, 2023, show that first-generation migrants, those from a country of birth outside the Netherlands, make up less than 50 percent of the population in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the Hague. When looking at first-generation migrants only, Amsterdam's and the Hague's migrant populations are both 37 percent, while Rotterdam's is 32 percent.   

However, Goltan Varashk, a spokesperson for Statistics Netherlands (CBS), told Logically Facts that the figures Vlaardingerbroek cites "apply only when you combine first and second generation migrants - i.e., those born in the Netherlands, but with a different country of origin)." By this measure, Amsterdam's migrant population stands at 59 percent, which does represent a majority. The full figures are displayed in the table below. 

Table representing the migrant population percentage by first and second generations. (Source/Statistics Netherlands)Table representing the migrant population percentage by first and second generations. (Source/Statistics Netherlands)Table representing the migrant population percentage by first and second generations. (Source/Statistics Netherlands)

Despite the combined figures for Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the Hague showing first- and second-generation migrants as the majority population of these cities, the overall population of the Netherlands is not from a migrant background. Migrants make up 27 percent of the total Dutch population.

Varashk also told Logically Facts that Statistics Netherlands does not define migrant or demographic statistics by whether they are "white" vs "non-white". 

"We can trace back the country of origin of 1st generation and 2nd generation migrants, but this does not necessarily add anything to the distinction between 'white' or 'non-white,'" he said.

Regarding the country of origin of first- and second-generation migrants, Turkey, Suriname, and Morocco are among the most common for migrants in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague, according to data from 2022. However, various other countries of origin are represented among these cities' migrant populations, including European countries like Germany and Poland. 

Overall, migrants from other European countries make up 10 percent of the total population and 42 percent of the migrant population of the Netherlands.

Percentages are based on data from CBS and show the background of migrants in the Netherlands and the 3 regions of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the Hague. Visualization created using Flourish. (Source/CBS/Flourish)

While there are high migrant populations in the areas stated by Vlaardingerbroek, migration figures do not indicate fewer white people in the Netherlands or that a "replacement" is taking place. The data cannot be extrapolated as such, as it does not record race.

Dr. Laure Michon, a professor in the Department of Human Geography, Planning & International Development Studies at the University of Amsterdam, told Logically Facts: "No statistics are made for race in the Netherlands, and migration cannot be seen as a proxy for it. Even country of origin cannot be used as such."

"In the Netherlands as a whole, 10% of the population originates from a European country. In Amsterdam, although the largest groups originate from Morocco and Turkey (linked to the guest workers' migration in the 1960s and 1970s) and Suriname and Indonesia (with which the Netherlands has a colonial past), many migrants originate from European countries," Michon added.

Amsterdam has also experienced significant immigration levels since the 16th century due to its links to maritime trade. Many of its recent migrants are from countries under former Dutch colonial rule, guest workers, and employees from multinational companies. The Netherlands' population growth has largely been due to immigration, as there were fewer births than deaths in the country in the first quarter of 2023. A large number of Ukrainian migrants also moved to the Netherlands in 2022 following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Logically Facts has previously investigated the Great Replacement theory. It is a far-right conspiracy theory with French roots that has become a magnet for xenophobia and racism while having no basis in fact. Proponents of the theory allege that the increased presence of immigrants in "white" countries will result in a non-white majority population that will take control of national institutions and destroy the white population or culture. The theory is unfounded, and claims that support the theory have been debunked.

The verdict

The Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the Hague have a majority migrant population when first- and second-generation migrants are considered. However, this does not mean that white people are being replaced or that there are "fewer" white people as a result of migration figures. The Great Replacement is a known conspiracy with no substance, and its pushers frequently misinterpret statistical data. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.

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