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Different cultures in The Hague

Multicultural Society

Published: 
31 August 2009
Modified: 
22 April 2014

An overview of a few of the many different ethnic groups living in The Hague.

The Jewish community

  • Of the more than 17,000 Jewish citizens living in The Hague in 1941, only approximately 3,000 returned from the Nazi camps.
  • In remembrance of the Holocaust, the Jewish Community asked local sculptor Jacques de Leeuwe, a Nazi camp survivor, to create an artist's impression of the perished quarter of their forefathers.
  • The Jewish district (the 'Buurt') was situated around the protestant New Church (Nieuwe Kerk, opposite the City Hall square), close to the former harbour, now the cultural heart of the city.
  • De Leeuwe's bronze model is based on the book by I.B. van Creveld ('De verdwenen buurt', Zutphen, 1989) in which the author describes the local history of the rich and poor Israelites, who settled in the proximity of the Court from 1675 onwards.
  • In 1996 the Jewish community of The Hague gave their object of remembrance to the municipality. Since then it has been on exhibition on the first floor of the City Hall Atrium.

The Chinese community

  • Most Chinese shops and restaurants are located around Wagenstraat, near the Bijenkorf department store.
  • A vanguard social experiment called 'De Chinese Brug' (The Chinese Bridge) offers contact and welfare services and manages a drop-in centre for elderly Chinese.

The Surinamese and Antillean community

  • When Suriname, an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, became an independent state in 1975, nearly half the population moved to the former mother country, and decided to stay here.
  • The emigrants consisted of Creoles, Hindustani and Javanese. Thousands of them settled in The Hague.
  • Although the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba did not separate from the Kingdom, many of the Caribbean islanders also prefer to live and study in the Netherlands.

The Indonesian community 

  • Three centuries of close contact between Holland and the Indonesian Archipelago have left their mark on both present-day Indonesia and the Netherlands, but especially on The Hague.
  • One of the city's most characteristic quarters is called the 'Archipelbuurt', where most of the streets are named after islands of the Indonesian archipelago.
  • At first the sultanates of the 'emerald girdle' of islands around Java were simply trading partners. From the 19th century onwards, however, the archipelago became a colony. Indonesia gained independence in 1949.
  • The Indonesian Monument in the Van Stolkpark serves as a reminder of the human lives sacrificed during the Japanese occupation of the former Dutch East Indies.
  • Between 1945 and the mid-sixties roughly 300,000 people of all ranks and ages migrated from Indonesia to the Netherlands; most of them were people of mixed descent (Eurasians), born and raised in the Dutch East Indies.
  • The Eurasian culture is kept alive with the Indies Cultural Circle and the annual Tong Tong Festival (formerly Pasar Malam Besar), an Indonesian market and fair, among other things.
  • The Tong Tong Festival is the largest Eurasian festival in the world.

The Muslim community

  • The Muslim community in The Hague has grown exponentially over the last three decades. Groups of Muslims have come to the Netherlands in waves for different reasons, from different parts of the world, making the Muslim community very diverse.
  • Turkish and Moroccan nationals who came to the Netherlands as migrant workers make up the largest group. Surinamese Muslims that settled in the Netherlands after the independence of Suriname in 1975 are another significant population. When Indonesia was part of the Dutch East Indies, a large number of Indonesian Muslims came to the Netherlands and settled in The Hague as well.
  • Many smaller groups of refugees and political asylum seekers from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Somalia, Iraq etc. contribute to this rich culture as well.
Published: 
31 August 2009
Modified: 
22 April 2014

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