Canada was a prime destination during the twentieth century for many Dutch migrants. Indeed between 1928-1971, Dutch immigrants were the fifth largest ethnic group to arrive on Canadian shores. The earliest immigrants had been entering the country since the turn of the 20th century, but following the end of World War Two into the 1950s, there was an even bigger wave of Dutch migrant arrivals.
Following the liberation of the Netherlands by the Allied Forces in May 1945, many decided upon Canada to begin a new life. Among these were numerous farmers whose land and crops had been ruined by the war, as well those with more romantic inclinations, around 2,000 Dutch women who had met and married Canadian soldiers stationed in Europe then returned with them to their homeland. The Dutch 'war-brides' were second in number only to the British at the time.
Canada also has a special tie with the Netherlands as the country provided santuary and safety for the Crown Princess Juliana and her family, which included the young Princess Beatrix, during the occupation of the Netherlands in World War Two. The Princess Margriet was also born born overseas, at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. Ever since the liberation of the Netherlands, the Royal Family and the Dutch people have sent thousands of tulips to Canada, for the Canadian Tulip Festival held annually each May, in thanks for their contribution to the Dutch war-effort.
There are still many individuals alive who came across during this migration period, as well as second and third generation family members who still feel that they have visible roots in the Netherlands. According to the 2006 Canadian census there were 1,035, 965 people of Dutch descent living in Canada, many of whom are permanent residents. CIE is very interested in the migration heritage of the Dutch people, and these individuals can provide insight into the turbulent post-war years and the experiences of starting a new life abroad for a Dutch expat.
Our projects with Canada come under our core themes of Research and Academic Cooperation