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Section title: Dutch
Introduction | History | Daily Life | Culture | References


History

The Third Wave (after 1945)

After the Second World War (1939-1945), almost 185,000 Dutch people came to Canada. This was the largest group ever to arrive. The first to come were about 2,000 war brides, young women who had married Canadian soldiers overseas. Many young men and families with children also left their homes because the war had destroyed much of the Netherlands, and there was no work available. Other people left Europe because they were afraid of another war, and because they wanted a better life for their families.

 
Netherlands ambassador greeting Dutch immigrants arriving in Montréal, June 1947   Dutch immigrant family arriving at Québec, June 1947

Why did these people choose Canada? During the Second World War, the Netherlands had suffered greatly. There was not enough food, and by 1945 people were forced to eat tulip bulbs to survive. Canadian soldiers and airmen then came to their rescue, fighting fiercely to free the Dutch people from the Nazis who had taken over their country. The Dutch never forgot that Canadians had saved them, bringing freedom, food and an end to the horrors of war. When they thought of moving, Canada seemed like a natural choice.


Glossary

war brides: a group of women who came to Canada after the Second World War ended, because they had married Canadian soldiers or airmen in Europe

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