Cultural Diversity in the Netherlands

Cultural Diversity in the Netherlands 1275 775 The Inclusion Partners

As a child of Turkish migrants, I have seen and experienced a lot in the negative and positive sense growing up in the Netherlands, the country where I was born. It has formed me as a person and learnt me to look beyond culture, identity and nationality.

I have learnt not to reject the negative but also not to accept the positive. I constantly learn by watching, sensing, observing, enquiring and exploring without interpreting. My view is, the moment you interpret what you see, you create conflict. I believe this is a reaction of our own conditioning, knowledge, experience and bias. In my work as an executive searcher I have met and spoken to countless people all over the world. And not interpreting, helps me to connect with the person I meet, for me there are no barriers. You can’t make a connection with someone if you are not in contact with yourself.

I have always been interested in the process of Cultural Diversity and Inclusion in both society and in corporations. Fortunately, corporations are starting to acknowledge the value of Cultural Diversity and cohesion. In society, unfortunately, I notice a contradictory process. I perceive the Dutch society as deeply divided and this division has grown in the past 15 years. This is often sustained by media, academics and politicians, further inducing cultural ignorance. Thus acknowledging the already existing bias we have.

I notice the same similarities in the discussions on Diversity. Females create Female networks. Turks create Turkish networks. The LGBT community creates LGBT networks.  Moroccans create Moroccan networks. Islands in isolation only create more isolation and more bias. To my knowledge there is no platform that is truly Diverse in the Netherlands.

However, my recent experience with a few corporates regarding Cultural diversity, is giving me hope. They admit they are struggling to attract Cultural talent. They are looking for ways to train their recruiters to be more cultural aware and give them tools to communicate better with candidates of multiple cultural backgrounds.  Corporates are also aware that they need to change their norms and values (their cultural dna) when they want true Inclusiveness. This alignment is to my opinion key to having a successful D&I and workforce strategy.

Corporates should be cultural melting pots. I think these are excellent environments where different cultures meet on all levels and interact and learn from each other. In the end, these are the eco-systems companies need in order to be successful. Our politicians and sociologists should regard these multicultural corporate environments as examples. When it works in corporates it also could work in societies. We live in a free and highly evolved society with a centuries old history of migration. So it should not be difficult for us to absorb other cultures and create an even more beautiful and highly evolved eco-system, both in corporates and in our society.

Regardless in what phase of your life you are, being able to observe what is happening in society or in corporations, in your neighbourhood or in your team, without judging is key to having a tolerant society but above all it is key to becoming more self-aware and a mindful authentic loving caring person.


Adnan Basaran

Founder Kamran International


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