The Dutch are pragmatic, direct and famously open-minded. They enjoy a high quality of life, a generous welfare system and a high standard of education. Qualities attributable to many Dutch people include independence, self-reliance, efficiency and thriftiness. There is a strong work ethic and a profit-orientated mentality.
Anyone living in the Netherlands is used to life in a diverse, multiracial society, although the many different ethnic groups tend to co-exist, rather than integrate fully.
Recently, there has been an increase in tension in The Netherlands, suggesting to many that multi-culturalism has gone too far. Gay anti-immigration campaigner Pym Fortuyn, who emerged as a dominant force in Dutch politics early in the 21st century, was assassinated in 2002 by an animal rights extremist. Two years later, outspoken filmmaker Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death, with extreme Islamic quotations left pinned to his body. Anti-Islamic feeling is riding high, further stirred by the ongoing debate in the Dutch parliament about a proposed nationwide ban of the burqa, the traditional Islamic women’s dress.
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