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IntroductionExplore the Communities
  Section title: Dutch
Graphical element: Dutch immigrants   Introduction
History
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Introduction

What do you know about Holland besides the fact that it is famous for its windmills, tulips, and wooden shoes? We often talk about "Holland," but the real name of this small country in western Europe is "the Netherlands," which means "the low countries." The land really is low, since much of it lies below sea level. For centuries, Dutch people have built dykes (huge walls made of earth and brush) to keep back the waters of the North Sea.

 
  Dutch family with immigration officers, Port of Québec, May 1956

The Netherlands was one of the richest and most powerful countries of the world during its "Golden Age" in the 1700s. Still, many of its people were living in poverty. Some of them decided to leave their country and find a better home elsewhere. Only a few of these came to Canada. However, from about 1896 until 1914, nearly 200,000 people left the Netherlands to settle in Canada. About 25,000 more came after the First World War (1914-1918). A very large group, nearly 185,000 people, came after the Second World War, which ended in 1945. Today, Canada's 10th largest ethnocultural group is made up of people who immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands. Why did so many Netherlanders choose Canada?


Glossary

ethnocultural group: a group of people who share a common culture, language and place of origin


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