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Dutch/Northrhine-Westphalian Fellow (1 September 2002 - 30 June 2003)
In the framework of the Dutch/Northrhine-Westphalian programme, I worked together with my German counterpart Dietrich Thränhardt on the comparison of multiple citizenship and naturalization in Germany and the Netherlands. The result of our study, set down in an article entitled 'Einbürgerung und Mehrstaatigkeit in Deutschland und den Niederlanden', is that high rates of naturalization cannot be reached without tolerance of multiple citizenship and automatic naturalization of the second and third generations (see Thränhardt's summary). In addition to this study on naturalization and multiple-citizenship, we wrote a series of articles on immigration and immigrant integration in Germany and the Netherlands, which we intend to compile in a comparative book. We found that, contrary to the long embraced view that the Netherlands is the multicultural beacon for the rest of the continent while Germany is the problem country, some aspects of immigrant integration in Germany compare rather favourably to policy outcomes in the Netherlands. Analysing the experiences and policy outcomes in the two countries, we developed the thesis that general programmes, and mechanisms and institutions that create common interests, contribute more to the integration of immigrants than special minorities programmes, which tend to set one group against the other. We hope to enlarge upon these ideas in the future.
The DNRW programme idea of close cooperation between a Dutch and a German researcher has worked out quite well for us. It was ideal to be able to cooperate in a door-to-door situation, and to develop interpretations step-by-step. The discussions with other researchers at NIAS were also very inspiring. Together with other Fellows, we organised several conferences, including a seminar for Ph.D. students from different institutes in Germany and the Netherlands, which we intend to make an annual event.
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