Inburgeren – Civic integration in the Netherlands

21 February 2022

Like other countries such as Germany, Denmark, Austria, France, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands requires that new migrants and naturalisation applicants study the language and culture of their new home country and then pass an exam. In the Netherlands this is called inburgering.

The Netherlands first implemented inburgering in the 1980s for temporary workers who ended up permanently residing in the country. Currently, everyone between the ages of 18 and 65 who migrates to the Netherlands from outside the EU is obliged to take an inburgering exam.

The Netherlands' new Wet Inburgering 2022 (Civic Integration Act) took effect on 1 January 2022. From now on, municipalities are responsible for inburgering. This is expected to allow newcomers to learn the Dutch language more quickly than they do now, as well as to be able to gain work experience at the same time. The new system laid out by the legislation also gives more space for a more personal approach.

There are three learning routes:

  • The B1 route: a route for language and (voluntary) work. Newcomers would be taught the Dutch language within a maximum of 3 years and carry out (voluntary) work at the same time.
  • The educational route: mainly intended for young people wanting to obtain tertiary certifications.
  • The self-reliance route: a route for newcomers for whom neither the first nor second route is an option.

The path to inburgering can be started while an individual is still abroad, before their arrival in the Netherlands. Another change brought about in the legislation is that from 1 January 2022 Turkish nationals who want to live in the Netherlands must also follow the inburgering process.

Would you like to know more? Head over to DUO’s website for more detail on the inburgering process.


Wet Inburgering 2022