Paul Hiltemann had already noticed a darkening mood in the Netherlands. He runs an agency for people wanting to emigrate and his client list had surged. But he was still taken aback in November when a Dutch filmmaker was shot and his throat was slit, execution style, on an Amsterdam street. In the weeks that followed, Mr. Hiltemann was inundated by e-mail messages and telephone calls. “There was a big panic,” he said, “a flood of people saying they wanted to leave the country.”
Leave this stable and prosperous corner of Europe? Leave this land with its generous social benefits and ample salaries, a place of fine schools, museums, sports grounds and bicycle paths, all set in a lively democracy?
The answer, increasingly, is yes. This small nation is a magnet for immigrants, but statistics suggest there is a quickening flight of the white middle class. Dutch people pulling up roots said they felt a general pessimism about their small and crowded country and about the social tensions that had grown along with the waves of newcomers, most of them Muslims.
It’s no surprise why emigration from Holland has increased 33 percent in the last five years. Of course, those Dutch folks will probably all move to New Zealand and vote for precisely the same idiotic policies that made them want to leave Holland in the first place. Of all the immigration destinations in the world, only Switzerland seems to grasp this danger. You can move there, you can work there, you can pay taxes there… but you can’t vote.
It’s too bad the Southrons didn’t figure this out before Naples became the Midwest South and Miami became South Manhattan.