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I have heard from my friends who are students of The Netherlands universities or are immigrants and live there with their families that this country is more welcoming to different people than the other countries in the Europe. I have searched and found a site which seems claim the same:

Top 5 least racist countries:

There is a lot of racism around us. There are countries who wouldn't want a Muslim, a Jew or an immigrant as a neighbor (e.g. Northern Ireland, Greece and Italy don't like any of the above), but then again, there are people who don't judge you based on your cast, creed, religion or skin color. Here we have a list of the top 5 least racist countries in the world:

  1. Netherlands
  2. Finland
  3. Norway
  4. Sweden
  5. Canada

Is there any research to prove this claim or is it just a joke and is not raised from real stories and statistics?

P.S: Racism in the context mean: Any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life

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    Culture doesn't change fast. And the racist party is RIGHT NOW, swedes are quite racist, but not openly. Racist ideologies are held, even if they are not always said out loud... while being sober. I also highly question how you measure racism. Sending out questionaries asking people how much they hate other races, on a scale from 1 to 10? – Wertilq May 11 '13 at 22:05
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    How do you measure racism? Racially-segregated jobs/neighborhoods/businesses? Racial income disparity? A poll of people, X% said "I am racist"? – Flimzy May 12 '13 at 21:29
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    Clearly this question in not constructive and I'm astonished to see it still opened. -1 and voting to close. – Carlo Alterego May 12 '13 at 21:52
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    @PersianCat racism has no definition. A lot of people scream racism when they don't get preferential treatment too, including when they demand such preferential treatment based not on race but for example religion. – jwenting May 13 '13 at 5:43
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    @PersianCat in Europe we now have what is called euphemistically "reverse discrimination" in which white people are discriminated against in order to prevent non-whites from shouting "racism" for not getting preferential treatment. That's racism too, and it's institutionalised in many EU countries, yet it never shows up on the charts because of who is being victimised (by definition almost white people can't be the victims of racism, to the point that anti-discrimination laws are actively interpreted to read such, see several US DOJ decisions after discrimination against white voters in 2008). – jwenting May 13 '13 at 12:56
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As I will explain, this isn't an ideal answer, but provides empirical evidence that The Netherlands is not necessarily the least racist country, and that the very question isn't precise enough to answer meaningfully.


The definition of "least racist" isn't clearly defined here, and there are a number of measures that could be used.

One suitable measure might be "the highest proportion of people who strongly agree or somewhat agree with the statement 'the presence of foreigners is good for the country'"

Unfortunately, I do not have statistics for that question. I do have a close proxy, which is a city-wide rather than a country-wide survey asking for level of agreement with the question 'the presence of foreigners is good for the city.

It isn't available for every country in the world, but instead for 75 cities around Europe, 500 respondents per city.

Figure from report

From this chart we can draw some conclusions:

The city of Luxembourg (which is probably a reasonable proxy for the entire country) tops the list.

The first Dutch city comes ninth. Other Dutch cities appear in the 12th and 53rd positions. (The absolute positions of these numbers a largely meaningless - other, unpolled, cities may rank higher.)

So the Netherlands does not have any clear standing higher than many other countries.


We can draw some other conclusions that throw the original question into doubt.

For example, consider the ranking of Swedish versus Dutch cities:

  • Stockholm
  • Amsterdam
  • Groningen
  • Malmö
  • Rotterdam

Does it make much sense to declare one country less racist than another when they mingle in rankings like this?

For that matter, if you declared the least racist city to be the one with the smallest proportion of respondents who strongly disagree with the statement, we can see from the red bars in the histogram that this would give quite different results, with Gdansk and Luxembourg vying for the lead.


In conclusion, not only can't you say that the Netherlands is the least racist country, the question is too ill-defined to give that position to any country - we can't even give Luxembourg the European crown.

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  • It's a dodgy question as you said, but there could be a better proxy measure than city-wide opinion surveys. One example, measure how well children of immigrants do in society as adults, compared with their non-immigrant peers. – ChrisW May 12 '13 at 14:10
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    @ChrisW: Yep, that could work. But, I reckon with 15 minutes effort, we could brainstorm at least 15 different measures of racism... With a few hours effort, we could probably construct metrics that placed any country of our choosing at the top. At some point, we need to step back and ask what we are trying to achieve. – Oddthinking May 12 '13 at 14:44
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    If you read the text associated with top20lists.com/2010/11/top-5-least-racist-counties.html IMO it lists the top five countries in "reverse" order, from #5 to #1 as you read downwards: Canada is number one, and Netherlands is number five. So the OP is wrong (backwards), and your data analysis may support the conclusion of the to-be-revised OP. – ChrisW Aug 14 '13 at 17:37
  • @ChrisW: LOL. You are right about the article. It is terribly unclear. – Oddthinking Aug 15 '13 at 0:32
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Things to consider:

  • The Netherlands officially segregates it's citizens into two categories: autochtoon and allochtoon (ethnic Dutch and others);
  • there is also officially defined group called "non-Western allochtoon", which is basically very elaborate way of saying "non-White" ("non-Western allochtoon is someone whose 'country of origin' is or lies in Turkey, Africa, Latin America and Asia")
  • schools are semi-officially segregated into "white-schools" and "black-schools".
  • current government is in de facto coalition with PVV (Party for Freedom), which is build around xenophobia. Their party program includes stuff like "forbid Poles, Bulgarians, Romanians from entering the Netherlands" or "Constitutional protection of the dominance of the Judeo-Christian and humanistic culture of the Netherlands" or "Closing of Islamic schools" etc. PVV's leader was for example considered persona non grata by Home Office and denied entry into UK.
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  • There is neither official nor semi-official segregation in schools. Read the follow-up correction to the article you linked to. What does happen, is "naturally occurring" segregation, where some schools end up with either a predominantly white or non-white body of students, for a number of reasons. This isn't a good thing either, and there are initiatives to counteract it. In the article you linked to, two such schools (temporarily) shared the same building, each with their own entrance. Although I agree with your general implied conclusion. – SQB Oct 16 '15 at 8:01
  • @SQB: the follow-up only explains that there is no official racial segregation. That doesn't change the fact that schools which have predominantly immigrant children are referred by education officials as black schools. – vartec Oct 16 '15 at 21:13
  • Oh, and thankfully, the PVV is back to the opposition again. Although they're doing much too well in the polls. – SQB Oct 16 '15 at 21:51
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    Populist wanna-be fascist parties like the PVV always do well in the polls when they're the opposition. It's the perfect place for them - safely removed from ever having to take responsibility for any problem while at the same time having the maximum platform for blaming any and all problems on 'the incompetent establishment' and 'those dirty foreigners threatening our way of life'. – Shadur May 19 '17 at 6:52

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