Introduction / History The South Asian migration to the Netherlands before the 1970s was not large. It then became much larger. South Asians came from the South Asian countries and from the Dutch colonies.
Many Pakistanis came who were poor and did unskilled work in the largest Dutch cities. Most come to improve their standard of living or to look for something new. The earlier migrants found work for their relatives and friends who came later. They tend to keep to themselves.
Indians came to the Netherlands also. Some of them came from Uganda in the 1970s as they feared being persecuted in that country at the time. Most that have come from India work. Some Hindu teachers came to the Netherlands in the 1980s. A few Tamils are in the Netherlands and have their own religious temples here.
Most of the Indians in the Netherlands are of Suriname (a country in the north east of South America) origin. After their independence from the Dutch in 1975 many Indians emigrated to the Netherlands. They live mostly in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Almere and in the surrounding regions. They are also called Hindoestanen which is a Dutch word from Hindustani. Hindustani is a Persian word for a person from Hindustan in India. They speak Hindi, Dutch, English and other languages too.
The Indians began to migrate to Suriname in 1873 and worked as laborers. Now Transvaal in the Hague has many Indian shops. The culture, language, family, India and Suriname help to keep the community together. There are some mixed marriages between Indians and others but very few between Hindus and Muslims. They often have arranged marriages. A lot have committed suicide.
Most of them follow the Hindu religion, others are Muslims and there are a few Christians. More than half of the Hindu Indians worship in the traditional Hindu way. Some belong to a reform movement called Arya Samaj. Of the Muslims most are Sunni and some are Ahmadiyya. There are Indian Christians converted from Hinduism and others from the Indian state of Goa. Now there are Indian atheists and agnostics too.