Inburgering could very well be one of the most widely-used words in The Netherlands at the moment. Especially since the nieuwe inburgeringwet was passed. But how expensive could inburgering get?

The Netherlands has long been a melting pot of cultures. The number of different cultures here cannot be measured by the number of your fingers alone. Stand in a train station and you will see how many different colors of hair there are.

But the immigration issue here was put under a microscope during the introduction of the new inburgeringwet — making inburgering more and more a popular theme.

The most salient issue connected to the inburgeringwet is that foreigners in and going to the country must learn the Dutch language. It is indeed a good way to integrate — learning the major language. But there are also costs connected to it.

Just before one steps into the country, the exam already costs 365euro. You can’t possibly pass it without reviewing for the language and kennis van samenleving parts so obviously, you will need the Naar Nederland pakket sold at almost 65euro and a good beggining language book. Let’s peg that at another 60euro. So before you come to the Netherlands, you already need bijna 500euro alleen voor inburgering.

It does not end there. When you’re already here, you need to take an inburgeringscursus for a year or so. Afterwhich, you need to take the NT2 Staatsexamen to qualify you to a Dutch passport.

A friend of mine who arrived here before the nieuwe inburgeringwet was passed (2005) got her inburgeringscursus free from de gemeente — from her transportation fees down to her education and study materials.

Fast forward to 2007, another Filipina I recently met arrived here in January. She is now following an inburgeringscursus in Albeda. Her course fee is definitely not free but a whopping 5000euro! If she would be able to pass her NT2 examen in three years, they can apply for 70percent vergoeding from her study costs and just pay around 1500euro.

I also met another foreigner who speaks perfect Dutch but never got into an inburgeringscursus. But she’s been living here for eleven years. She’s also been working for eight years and swore that conversations with collegas helped her in the integration process.

Now I wonder if the recent high costs of inburgering really pay off or is it the interaction with Dutch language users and the willingness to learn that certainly works?#