Text source: Joshua Project
Introduction / History
The homeland of the Tamil people is southeast India. Tamil is one of the major languages of India and the 17th most spoken language in the world. Tamils are proud of their cultural and literary heritage that dates back over 2000 years. Many thousands of Tamils have left South India and live in dozens of countries throughout the world including the Netherlands. Some migrated to the Netherlands and Indonesia as indentured servants during the era of the Dutch colonial era. The ability of the Tamils to speak Dutch and English gives them an advantage in international business. A small fraction of Tamils in the Netherlands has become followers of Jesus Christ.
What are their lives like?
The Tamils in the Netherlands live diverse lives. The educated, English speaking Tamils live middle or upper class lifestyles. They work in universities, science, commerce, and as professionals. Recently arrived Tamils have a more difficult time working in construction, restaurants, and factories. Tamils and their children must learn the Dutch language to have any chance of succeeding in the Netherlands. For the most part, the Tamils try to fit into Dutch society and stay out of politics. Tamil parents encourage their children to pursue higher education and obtain university degrees. The father is the head of the Tamil family. He shares leadership with his wife over the children. A woman has a higher place in the Tamil home than in most Asian cultures. Tamils in the Netherlands try to maintain their ethnic identity and at the same time become model Dutch citizens. In traditional Tamil culture, the parents chose the spouse of their children. This practice has changed in Western societies where young children frequently choose their partner with their parents' guidance.
What are their beliefs?
The large majority of Tamils in the Netherlands practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. The patron god of the Tamils is Murugan, the Hindu god of war. Hindus worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Tamils visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods as Christians do with their heavenly Father. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Hindu Tamil people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday. Dutch Tamils also frequently celebrate Christian holidays. The Tamil New Year is celebrated on April 14.
What are their needs?
The Tamils in the Netherlands need to understand that material success will not bring them the happiness they are seeking. Jesus Christ is much more than a Hindu god or guru. Only through Christ can a Tamil receive the forgiveness of his or her sins and the gift of eternal life.
Pray the Lord raises up a Disciple Making Movement among the Tamils in the Netherlands in this decade. Pray the Lord moves Dutch believers and churches to reach out and share the good news with the Tamils. Pray that more Christian literature, internet material and videos become available in the Tamil language. Ask God to bring Tamil leaders and heads of families into His kingdom.
ReferencesView Tamil in all countries.