Whilst until the late 1980s most migration issues developed in a parallel manner but
with national specifics, important differences showed up during the 1990s and at the beginning of this decade. Since the middle of the 1990s, there has been an obvious change in policy towards migrants and foreigners in the Netherlands, and those changes have been more or less “exported”
to our neighbouring countries and even to the level of the EU. Integration into society with the maintenance of the immigrant’s own culture has been replaced by integration into the Dutch society after passing an integration examination. The focus of this article is to investigate those changes and to compare the implementation of those policies in the Netherlands/Limburg and Germany/NRW, where the official understanding of not being an immigration country was dominant until the end of the 1990s, and where integration has only recently become an important political issue. Both countries are now facing similar challenges for better integration into the society,
especially into the educational system.
Firstly, the autors describe migration definitions, types, the numbers of migrants and the backgrounds of migrant policies in Germany and the Netherlands up until the middle of the 1990s.
Secondly they discuss the integration policies thereafter: the pathway to a new policy and the Action Plan Integration in Germany, and the central ideas of the Civic Integration of Newcomers Act (WIN) in the Netherlands. Integration policy in the Netherlands is highly centralised with little differentiation on the local governmental level when compared to South Limburg.
Thirdly, the autors investigate the cross-border cooperation between professional organisations
and educational institutions in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine, and the involvement of social work institutions and social workers in their process of integration into the local society and the exchange of each others’ experiences (the ECSW and RECES projects).