The following list shows the ten South Holland cities with the highest percentage of expat residents. They form one continuous block from Delft in the south to Oegstgeest in the north and The Hague in the west to Leidschendam in the east…
During Holland’s golden age, the Dutch Republic was one of the most powerful and influential nations in the world, with a trading empire that stretched from Europe to the Americas, Africa and the Far East. A booming economy will always attract foreign workers, and ‘the lowlands’ attracted a great many migrants including fisherman, farmers, sailors, factory workers, nannies…even Pilgrims.
300 years on, the Netherlands still attracts foreigners, both from within the EU and outside countries. Being a gateway to Europe and having an advanced high-tech infrastructure, multi-national corporations often choose to set up headquarters in Holland.
In addition to private industry, large numbers of expats are employed by the many international organizations and NGOs located in South Holland, such as the European Patent Office, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Europol and International Court of Justice.
So what South Holland cities are the most popular places for all these expat residents to live in?
SOUTH HOLLAND CITIES WITH LARGEST % OF EXPAT RESIDENTS
#1 WASSENAAR: This bedroom community is in a class by itself when it comes to expats. Nestled between two much larger municipalities (The Hague and Leiden), it attracts wealthier expats and diplomats with its large estates and country-like setting. The Dutch national statistics agency, CBS, estimates that expats account for more than 20% of Wassenaar’s population. This makes Wassenaar not only the South Holland city with the highest penetration of expat residents, but the city with the highest penetration in all of the Netherlands.
#2-10DELFT, LEIDEN, LEIDERDORP, LEIDSCHENDAM, OEGSTGEEST, RIJSWIJK, THE HAGUE, VOORBURG, VOORSCHOTEN According to CBS, these 9 cities (listed in alphabetical order) all fall into the next tier, which is 12-20% of the resident population comes from a foreign, non-Dutch, Western background.
OTHER SOUTH HOLLAND CITIES WITH EXPAT RESIDENTS
8-12% Alphen aan en Rijn, Brielle, Capelle aan den Ijssel, Dordrecht, Gorinchem, Hellevoetsluis, Hillegom, Leerdam, Lisse, Noordwijk, Noordwijkerhout, Papendrecht, Pijnacker-Nootdorp, Rotterdam, Schiedam, Spijkenisse, Teylingen, Vlaardingen, Zoetermeer
4-8% Alblasserdam, Albrandswaard, Barendrecht, Bergambacht, Bernisse, Binnenmaas, Bodegraven-Reeuwijk, Boskoop, Comstrijen, Geissenlanden, Gouda, Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, Kaag en Braassem, Katwijk, Krimpen aan den Ijssel, Lansingerland, Maassluis, Midden-Delfland, Nederlek, Niuwekoop, Oude Beijerland, Ridderkerk, Rijnwoude, Schoonhoven, Sliedrecht, Strijen, Waddinxveen, Westland, Westvoorne, Zouterwoude, Zuidplas, Zwijndrecht
2-4% Goeree-Overflakkee, Hardinxveld-Giessendam, Korendijk, Molenwaard, Ouderkerk, Zederijk
South Holland cities with the largest % of residents with a foreign background (i.e. expats + immigrants)…
45-55% The Hague, Rotterdam
35-45% Capelle aan den Ijssel, Schiedam, Wassenaar
25-35% Delft, Leiden, Leidschendam-Voorburg, Rijswijk
20-25% Dordrecht, Gouda, Leiderdorp, Oegstgeest, Voorschoten
Statistical Data: CBS
*NOTE: The rankings are based on population data specific to ‘EXPATS’ (i.e. foreigners living in South Holland whose stay is considered ‘temporary’). They are not inclusive of data related to ‘IMMIGRANTS’ (i.e. foreigners living in South Holland whose stay is expected to be ‘permanent’). The rankings are based on penetration % of total residents, not the actual number expat residents within a city.