oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Racial discrimination in the Netherlands; the de iure and de facto positions

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Ethnic minorities play an important role in the struggle against discrimination in the Netherlands. They are the legacy of colonialism and of the phenomenon of Gastarbeid and their numbers have increased drastically during the last decennia. Vulnerable as the result of an inferior level of education and easily identifiable by appearance, these groups are in danger of sliding into an underclass. Racial discrimination is regarded as one of the causes of the low socio-economic position of these groups. The waves of racist violence which periodically sweep large parts of Europe underline the role of law as one of the principal means of combating racial discrimination and curbing propaganda, organisations or practices based on racist ideas which encourage racial hatred or violence. This article will provide a brief survey of the manner in which the Dutch legal system has handled the transformation of the principle of equality into the right to equality. It will concentrate on the negative content of this right, i.e. on the prohibition of discrimination.

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