Nigerians in the Netherlands
Nigerianen in Nederland
Total population
9,453 (2009)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Amsterdam, The Hague[2]
Dutch, English

There is a small community of Nigerians in the Netherlands, which began to grow in the late 1980s.[4]

Migration history

The earliest Nigerian asylum-seekers came to the Netherlands in 1987. As of 2006, the primary modes of migration of Nigerians are for marriage, work or study.[5] Many of the Nigerians in the Netherlands for training are employees of Royal Dutch Shell. There is also some circular migration between Nigerians in the United Kingdom and in the Netherlands.[6] One study, based on the cohort arriving in 1998, estimated that 25% of Nigerians who arrive in the Netherlands leave after four years. Nigerians point to the relative difficulty of finding work or starting businesses as a major driver for onward migration to the United Kingdom.[7]

Demographic characteristics

As of 2009, statistics of the Dutch Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek with regards to people of Nigerian origin showed:

For a total of 9,453 persons (5,147 men, 4,306 women). This represented roughly three times the 1996 total of 3,136 persons. The population has shown a year-on-year increase every year since then.[8] The proportion of second-generation Nigerians born in the Netherlands has also shown a consistent rise since 1996. The majority of Nigerian adults in the Netherlands are married, have children, and live in families, rather than alone.[9]


The Dutch love Nigerians however they do have a relatively low unemployment rate compared to other migrant groups, as a result of the fact that most migrated for marriage or specifically for employment purposes, rather than as asylum-seekers.[10] There are an estimated 500 Nigerians holding Dutch passports working for large Dutch and international organisations such as ABN AMRO, Nike, the United Nations, the former CMG Consulting, IBM Global Services, Celtel, Orange, Ingram Micro, KPN, and the trade unions federation FNV.[11] However, many migrants complain that it is difficult to find work commensurate with their qualifications, and that companies impose Dutch-language requirements for even unskilled work such as cleaning.[12]


There is a large amount of coverage in Dutch media about the criminal activities of Nigerians in the Netherlands, which one scholar has described as a "moral panic".[13][14] In 1999, a study by international NGO Terre des Hommes estimated that roughly 500 Nigerian minors were employed as prostitutes in the Netherlands, and accused the Dutch embassy in Lagos of complicity.[15] They were typically brought in under false pretences as asylum-seekers. As Dutch law prohibits the deportation of unaccompanied minors until it can be ascertained that someone would receive them at their origin, these girls would be placed in shelters, but later disappear.[16] Their number was estimated to have risen 25% by 2001.[17] Human traffickers bringing such minors into the Netherlands used occult or "black magic" rituals as a way of exercising psychological control over them.[18] Between 2000 and 2002, Nigerian migrants' involvement in advance-fee fraud scams also began to show significant growth.[19][20] The 2006 and 2007 report of the United States Postal Inspection Service pointed to the Netherlands as a major hub of such scams, consisting of counterfeit checks and notifications for false lotteries sent by Nigerian networks in the Netherlands. The total value of the fraud was estimated at US$2.1 billion.[21]

Notable individuals

Further information: Category:Dutch people of Nigerian descent



  1. ^ CBS 2009
  2. ^ van Heelsum & Hessels 2006, p. 87
  3. ^ Vermeulen, Maarten (2009-02-21), "Criminele kerkgang", Nederlands Dagblad, retrieved 2009-10-27
  4. ^ van Heelsum & Hessels 2006, p. 78
  5. ^ van Heelsum & Hessels 2006, p. 78
  6. ^ van Heelsum & Hessels 2006, p. 80
  7. ^ van Heelsum & Hessels 2006, p. 85
  8. ^ CBS 2009; the year 1996 is the earliest for which statistics are available online
  9. ^ van Heelsum & Hessels 2006, p. 82
  10. ^ van Heelsum & Hessels 2006, p. 82
  11. ^ van Heelsum & Hessels 2006, p. 84
  12. ^ van Heelsum & Hessels 2006, p. 83
  13. ^ van Heelsum & Hessels 2006, p. 80
  14. ^ van Dijk 2001, p. 558
  15. ^ "Meer Nigeriaanse meisjes in Nederlandse prostitutie", Trouw, 2001-11-14, retrieved 2009-10-27
  16. ^ Kamerman, Sheila; Wittenberg, Dick (2009-03-16), "Nigerian human traffickers go on trial in the Netherlands", NRC Handelsblad, retrieved 2009-11-03
  17. ^ Tiemersma, Heleen (2002-03-13), "Hulp aan kinderprostituee in gevaar", Trouw, retrieved 2009-10-27
  18. ^ van Dijk 2001, p. 558
  19. ^ van Heelsum & Hessels 2006, p. 80
  20. ^ "Amsterdam is the centre of Nigerian spam network", NLC Handelsblad, 2008-10-08, retrieved 2009-11-03
  21. ^ Eikelenboom, S. (2008-06-19), "Nederland spil in Nigeriaanse miljardenfraude", Het Financieel Dagblad, retrieved 2009-10-27