The Turks in the Netherlands

From the early 1970s, the immigrant Turks, though considered as temporary workers, started to become investors.  The first investments were made mainly in small grocery stores, butcher shops, and travel agencies.
With time these investments in the form of small enterprises have grown. They became apparel manufacturers; ‘uitzenburo’, which is defined as employment agencies, and travel agencies.  
Especially with the addition of the educated, 2nd and 3rd generations who were born and grew up here, a large investor community came into existence. Today, in the Netherlands, where close to four hundred thousand Turks live, 28 thousand of the 100 thousand enterprises belong to businessmen of foreign origins. Of those, Turks constitute the largest group. According to data from the Association of Chambers of Trade, the number of Turkish business owners is 12,500. Again according to the same data, these businesses have an annual turnover of c. 4.5 billion Euro, and employ 70,000 people.

The food and service sectors are the leading sectors Turkish businessmen are interested in. It is estimated that two thirds of the ‘uitzenburos’, which are defined as employment agencies, belong to Turks. Also, the number of food markets established by Turks all around the Netherlands is high. These markets became serious competition even to the Dutch markets.

Lately the Turks have been making their presence known in a wide variety of sectors: from telecommunication to tourism, from insurance and financial sectors to services. Among the businessmen of foreign origin, Turks are also leading in the number of newly established businesses.  Research shows that every year the number of new businesses founded by Turks is around 1500. But the same data also show that one fifth of these businesses, approximately 300 of them, go out of business before the end of the year. That is the reason that the expression “The Turks found the most companies, and are the fastest to close them” became a commonplace saying.

Even though this situation is considered a negative indication, no one can ignore the contribution of Turkish businessmen to the economy. These businesses established by Turks are providing a large basis for employment during a difficult time for the Dutch economy.

(May 2006, 20th Issue)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07