In the Netherlands, approximately 200.000 Central and Eastern Europeans are registered, and the Polish community (±136.000 people) has become a considerable and recognizable minority. Over the last ten years, the Polish plumber has personified the conceived threat to Western European job markets, public health sectors and social security systems as a result of the eastward EU enlargements in 2004 and 2007. This article analyzes the hetero-image of Central and Eastern European (CEE) labor migrants in Dutch news media texts and political discourse between 2000 and 2011. The labor migration has led to the creation of several Dutch neologisms. In addition to old national stereotypes (e.g. backwardness), new images (e.g. strong personal ambition) gained prominence. CEE labor migrants have been represented either as a resource for Dutch society (by NRC Handelsblad), as socioeconomic victims (by Trouw) or as the cause of social inconveniences (a.o. by Algemeen Dagblad and de Volkskrant). It is also found that war rhetoric has slipped into the Dutch political discourse on CEE labor migrants, who were occasionally considered and presented as a threat to Dutch society by parties on both sides of the political spectrum.
Jo Sterckx: ‘Polenproblematiek’. Het beeld van de Midden- en Oost-Europese arbeidsmigrant in Nederlandse nieuwsmedia en het politieke discours (2000-2011).
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