1 Introduction

Rotterdam is commonly characterised as pioneering in immigrant integration governance, often functioning as a predecessor for national and local policies in other cities. Before the first national integration policies were drafted in the Netherlands, Rotterdam already developed integration policies to deal with the interethnic tensions in the ‘Afrikaanderwijk’-neighbourhood. Also more recently Rotterdam’s policies were marked as pioneering, setting an example for other national and local policies. The best known example is the national law ‘Wet Bijzondere Grootstedelijke Problematiek’, also known as the Rotterdam Act. This national law was developed in Rotterdam and offers large cities the discretion to develop measures for specific urban problems in their city. Ethnic segregation and inequalities were the main underlying reason for Rotterdam to develop this policy. A local motto – ‘deeds, not words’ (in Dutch ‘Geen woorden maar daden’) – expresses the hands-on attitude for which the city and its citizens are known. This maxim is reflected in the city’s integration policies as well.

Throughout the years Rotterdam’s immigrant integration policies have taken many different shapes. With regard to the topic of superdiversity, it is interesting to analyse how the target groups addressed by integration policies have been constructed. This provides insight in the ways in which the city has constructed and addressed the diversity of its population. During the 1980s, Rotterdam signalled that generic socio-economic incentives were not sufficient to deal with the deprivation of ethnic minority groups. Consequently, targeted socio-economic measures were designed for these groups. These were the first in their kind in the Netherlands. In the early 2000s, the multicultural backlash (Vertovec and Wessendorf 2010) made facilitating targeted measures for ethnic minorities politically undesirable. Under a more right-wing government, local policies then came to focus on targeted socio-cultural assimilation instead. This was followed by a generic targeting of all citizens of Rotterdam, when immigrant integration policies were replaced by an urban citizenship framework between 2006 and 2014. In response to most recent developments, integration was explicitly put back on the policy agenda again in 2014. This chapter analyses the development of Rotterdam’s immigrant integration policies and its target groups over these past four decades.

In the four decades since Rotterdam developed its first integration policies in 1978, the population of Rotterdam with an immigrant background (first and second generation) increased to nearly 50% of the total population. The city counts around 170 different nationalities and on top of that there are increasing numbers of citizen of a second, third and fourth generation ‘migrant background’ with mixed ethnic backgrounds (COS 2011). Contemporary conditions of immigration are now often understood in terms of the growing scale and complexity of diversity, so called ‘superdiversity’ (Vertovec 2007). Superdiversity is understood as a dynamic interplay of a plurality of variables including country of origin, mode of migration, degree and type of nationality, legal status, socio-economic status, language, religion, and degree and type of transnationality (Ibid: 1024). But the concept also draws attention to other “axes of difference like gender, education, age cohorts and generations” (cf. Vertovec 2007; Crul 2015: 54).

The notion of superdiversity is often applied to societies that, due to long histories of immigration, have become so diverse that their diversity has become one of their defining characteristics. This development then is argued to challenge existing models of integration as “the idea of assimilation or integration becomes at any rate more complex in a situation where there is no longer a clear majority group into which one is to assimilate” (Ibid.: 57; see also Vertovec 2007; Alba and Nee 2003; Blommaert and Maly 2014; Glick Schiller and Çağlar 2009). Whom should be addressed by immigrant integration policies, and can separate groups be distinguished at all? The superdiversity literature suggests that rather than distinguishing and targeting specific ethnic groups in integration policies, these groups have diversified so much that one can no longer speak of clearly bounded groups altogether (Cantle 2012; Alba 2005; Bouchard 2011). According to Vertovec, the intersectionality and plurality of variables relating to diversity is not new, it is however the “emergence of their scale, historical and policy-produced multiple configuration and mutual conditioning that now calls for the conceptual distinction” (2007: 1026). It is thus expected that the focus of immigrant integration policies is shifting from groups to individuals. These conditions of superdiversity lead to a reconsideration of the very model of integration and the target groups that are addressed, as described in the literature on interculturalism (Wood 2009; Zapata Barrero 2013).

In this chapter we will analyse how these issues of targeting and models of immigrant integration have played a role in Rotterdam immigrant integration policies since the first policies were defined in 1978. We study how the local government of Rotterdam addresses the ethnic diversity of its population in integration policies. Our analysis is guided by the following two research questions: First, how has the city of Rotterdam targeted its ethnic diversity with integration policies over the past four decades? Second, we aim to gain a better understanding of how key moments of change in policy targeting can be explained. For this, we turn to changes in the problem, political and policy context (Kingdon 1984). This is addressed by the second research question: How can the change and continuity in targeting of Rotterdam’s integration policies be explained by the local problem, policy and political context?

The chapter is divided in six sections. In the following section we will outline our theoretical points of departure concerning policy framing and targeting. Subsequently we briefly introduce our methods of data collection and analysis. The fourth section entails a historic overview of the development of integration policies in Rotterdam, focusing on policy frames, constructions of target groups and key moments of policy change – addressing the first research question. The fifth section relates the empirical findings to the second research question and adds an explanatory element: how can we understand key moments of change in how Rotterdam has been targeting diversity? The sixth and final section draws the conclusions of this chapter and discusses them in relation to the other chapters of this volume.

2 Policy Frames and the Social Construction of Target Groups

Migrant integration policies by definition focus on immigrants and ethnic minorities. Nevertheless, different target groups can be discerned within the integration policies over time. A constructivist approach to policy assumes that there is no objective reality of policy problems, but that policy problems are socially constructed. Policies consist of a causal story or ‘frame’ in which a problem definition, causal narrative and solution are defined (Stone 1989; Schön and Rein 1994). An important part of this is the definition of a target group towards which the policy focuses its efforts (Schneider and Ingram 1997). The social construction of target groups refers to the recognition of shared characteristics that distinguish a target population as socially meaningful, and the attribution of specific, values, symbols and images to the characteristics (Schneider and Ingram 1993). The way target groups are constructed in policy design is closely related to target group constructions that are common in society. Policymakers respond to, perpetuate, and help create social constructions of target groups in anticipation of public approval or approbation (Ingram et al. 2007: 106). Consequently benefits and burdens are assigned through public policies through the structure of these target groups (Schneider and Ingram 1997).

The way citizens are targeted by policies, in the first place has a direct influence on the target populations themselves. Policies shape the experience of target groups and send implicit messages about how important their problems are to the government and whether or how they are expected to participate (Ingram et al. 2007: 96). Target group constructions shape the political orientations and opportunity structures for the participation of target populations (Ibid.: 98). When target group constructions are negative they discourage political participation, Schneider and Ingram (1993) refer to this effect of target grouping as degenerative politics or policy design. Positive target group constructions on the other hand, may enhance political participation of these groups.

Secondly, target group constructions in policies have an effect on how these target groups are perceived by others in society. It legitimizes and strengthens pre-existing social constructions of the target groups in society. Policies also shape institutions and the broader culture through both the instrumental (resource) effects of policy (such as new rules and new organizations) and the rhetorical/symbolic (interpretive) effects. Because target group constructions in policy strongly interact with those in society, they are generally disproportionally advantageous towards the already advantaged, while negatively constructed groups benefit disproportionally little from the policies.

Schneider and Ingram’s model of target groups provides a suitable framework to analyse continuity and change in Rotterdam’s integration policies in relation to the assumed increased diversity of its urban population. It is relevant to analyse which target groups have been addressed by integration policies as this provides insight in the ways in which Rotterdam has constructed and addressed the diversity of its population.

3 Data and Methodology

This chapter is based on combined data from two recent research projects, ‘UniteEurope’ (www.uniteeurope.org) and ‘Upstream’ (www.project-upstream.eu), both conducted at the Department of Public Administration and Sociology of Erasmus University Rotterdam. We have collected data on Rotterdam’s immigrant integration policies from 1978 onward consisting of 63 relevant policy documents and in-depth semi-structured interviews with 18 policymakers and politicians who were involved in Rotterdam’s integration policy development since 2000.

In this chapter we analyse change and continuity in target group constructions in Rotterdam’s immigrant integration policies through time, in order to understand how the city acts upon the diversity of its population. According to Schneider and Ingram (1993), changes in target group constructions in policy reflect changing notions of who are deserving and undeserving in society. Based on the analytical framework by Schneider and Ingram (1997) we have analysed Rotterdam’s immigrant integration policies over the past four decades tracing whether migrant groups are targeted specifically or generically (aimed at all citizens) and we reconstructed whether policy measures were focused on attributing benefits or burdens to the defined target groups. In a sense policies are always targeted, as they are designed to meet a certain policy goal. However we distinguish policies that explicitly target immigrants separately from policies that target the citizens of Rotterdam in general (or by another classification than their ethnicity or migration background). The distinction between benefiting and burdening policies is sometimes hard to make (Schneider and Ingram 1993: 338), it is thus important to take the policy aim into account to understand the difference. Benefiting policies stand generally positive toward the target group and provide measures to further encourage their efforts. Burdening policies on the other hand perceive of the target group’s behaviour as undesirable and aim for changes in certain behaviour. The distinction thus merely lies in how the policies perceive the target groups intentions and behaviours and whether policies can be understood as either facilitating and rewarding or more demanding and punishing policies. The boundary between the two categories can be ambiguous. For example, language programmes can be categorised both as beneficial as burdening, depending on whether it is framed as facilitating and empowering, or as obligatory and burdening when participation or a certain exam result is required.

Target group constructions change in correspondence with (perceived) changes in society. This may include perceived changes in the problem context of migrant integration or perceived success or failure of previous policies. In order to understand changes in targeting of Rotterdam’s integration policies we will contextualize policy shifts by changes in the policy, political and problem context. This adheres to Kingdon’s (1984) multiple streams approach. The problem stream entails toward what policy problems attention is attributed. We look at what aspects of diversity are problematized as integration problems. Specifically, we focus on whether there is attention for socio-economic, socio-cultural, legal-political or spatial aspects of diversity. The policy stream includes different solutions that are available to the problem. We evaluate what measures are chosen (benefits or burdens) and how the results of prior measures are evaluated. For example, the backlash against multiculturalism signalled a negative evaluation of group benefits. The politics stream concerns whether policymakers have the political motive and opportunity for policy change. In order to evaluate changes in the political context, we evaluate the make-up of the city executive and city council during successive political periods.

4 Tracing Continuity and Change in Rotterdam’s Integration Policies

4.1 1978–1985: Rotterdam Immigrant Integration Policies: The Initial Years

Until 1978, the local government of Rotterdam did not have policies dealing with immigrants or migrant integration. In line with the Dutch national policy stance, it was expected that guest workers were to stay temporarily. Even though there were no integration policies at that time, several developments and events took place that in a later stage were seen as integration issues and early initiatives of integration policy. For example, many societal and religious organizations helped the foreign workers to find their way in Rotterdam and achieve a better socio-economic position (De Nieuwe Rotterdamers 1991).

A particularly important moment were the 1972 riots in the Afrikaanderwijk. In the Afrikaanderwijk many houses were turned into pensions to rent out to Turkish labour migrants. This was a lucrative business as large numbers of labour migrants were housed in single family apartments. This led to a housing shortage for native Dutch families. A number of citizens of Rotterdam, including many dockers, started a riot invading the pensions and throwing the furniture out. These events led to a first attempt to develop an integration policy to redistribute immigrants over Rotterdam’s neighbourhoods. The city council accepted a policy that set a maximum of 5% of migrant inhabitants to all neighbourhoods of Rotterdam. However, early policy initiatives for ethnically targeted spatial dispersal in 1972 and 1979 were revoked by the Council of State of the Netherlands. Nevertheless, the presence of a growing immigrant population in the city gained the local government’s attention.

In 1978, the municipality of Rotterdam was the first in the Netherlands to formulate a memorandum on immigrant integration: ‘Immigrants in Rotterdam’ (Nota Migranten in Rotterdam 1978). This memorandum even preceded the first national report on integration of ethnic minorities by the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) which is generally considered to be the report that led to the first national integration policy, the Dutch ‘ethnic minority policy’ (WRR 1979) that was first to recognize integration as a policy issue and has become known by its multiculturalist policy frame. In the Rotterdam policy of 1978 it was already written – that “It is remarkable that many still believe that we are dealing with a temporary phenomenon” (1978:4) – while explicitly referring to the National government.

Unlike the early targeted burdening attempts to promote ethnic residential dispersion, Rotterdam’s first integration policy was concerned with the worsening socio-economic position of the growing immigrant community, owing primarily to gradually rising unemployment (Nota Culturele Minderheden in het Rijnmondgebied 1981). The policy addressed the immigrants’ position on the labour market and the related educational attainments of immigrants. There was also attention for improving the quality of housing and to promote a more even distribution of immigrants over the city. Additionally, the city encouraged inter-ethnic contact through organized meetings in the neighbourhoods and there was a focus on political integration. Inequality in socio-economic, legal-political and spatial terms were the main concerns of the policy. An equal legal status was perceived to be a prerequisite for socio-economic and spatial integration. Setting an example for the first national integration policy, immigrants were encouraged to retain their own culture and identity (Veenman 2000). Exemplary of this attempt is that a summary of the policy note was also published in the most common immigrant languages. Nowadays this would be unthinkable.

Interestingly, instead of targeting immigrant groups specifically, the policy addressed the population of Rotterdam in general and the Rotterdam authorities focused on making existing services available to immigrants. “It is of upmost importance not to distinguish between allochtoneous and autochtoneous citizens. This means that we need to pursue universal policy for both groups. That should stay this way” (Nota Migranten in Rotterdam 1978: 2). Thus, while addressing integration as a new and separate policy priority, this was explicitly done in universalist terms, addressing all citizens of Rotterdam generically.

4.2 1985–1998: Integration from First to Second Generation

During the 1980s and 1990s, the number of immigrants in Rotterdam increased, partially as a result of family reunification. At the same time, the socio-economic position of ethnic minorities in the city worsened and inter-ethnic tensions between Dutch and foreign workers again grew. Rotterdam’s immigrant integration policies in this period remained focused on the socio-economic position of ethnic minorities. Additionally, the growing inter-ethnic tensions between native Dutch and foreign workers were addressed. Temporary housing arrangements were not always sufficient and the housing situation of immigrants concentrated in certain neighbourhoods caused nuisance (De Nieuwe Rotterdamers 1991). From the mid-1980s onwards the realization grew that generic anti-deprivation policies were by themselves not sufficiently effective to improve the socio-economic position of immigrants (see also Veenman 2000: 11). This marked a period of tougher and targeted integration policies: “Just a few years ago, it was thought that with the second generation of immigrants, integration issues would be solved. Their parents were considered to be a lost generation but it was believed that their children would find their way. This optimism has vanished” (Minderhedenbeleid in een Gewijzigde Situatie 1985: 14).

There was a growing perception that the initial measure of providing support to disadvantaged groups was creating a culture of dependency rather than one of economic self-sufficiency, as was desired. The focus of this new phase in Rotterdam’s integration policy was therefore no longer exclusively on the rights of immigrants but there was also a new emphasis on the immigrant’s responsibilities toward society, particularly the responsibility to become self-reliant. This was part of a broader ‘social renewal’ policy in Rotterdam (De Nieuwe Rotterdamers 1991). Local authorities warned that undesirable behaviour – including youth crime and anti-social behaviour – would be clamped down on (Veenman 2000). This marked a change to more specific measures: “Before, there was a strong tendency to confine specific measures for immigrants to a minimum. This was pursued because we were afraid that they would increase or at least confirm segregation” (Memorandum Inzake het Minderhedenbeleid in de jaren ‘90 1988: 15). Now, Rotterdam concluded that generic measures were insufficient and unorthodox measures were needed (Memorandum Inzake het Minderhedenbeleid in de jaren ‘90 1988).

In general, these measures were primarily beneficial for ethnic minorities. Rotterdam enacted temporary specific measures for immigrant economic integration as part of the general anti-deprivation policy (Minderhedenbeleid in een Gewijzigde situatie 1985; Memorandum Inzake het Minderhedenbeleid in de jaren ‘90 1988). For example, education was provided to enhance the immigrant’s opportunities on the labourmarket. This concerned instituting special vocational training facilities, Dutch language courses, anti-discrimination measures and job-creation schemes. The Project Integration of Newcomers (PIN, in Dutch ‘Project Integratie Nieuwkomers’) that was initiated in 1991 and was executed by the Rotterdam department of Social Affairs and Employment incorporated such immigrant courses and was mandatory for welfare recipients with an immigrant background (Muskens 1995). The PIN-courses can be considered a precursor of national civic integration courses. Rotterdam also pursued affirmative action programmes to improve the socio-economic position of immigrants. For example, attention was raised for the role of the Rotterdam administration as a large and exemplary employer that should reflect on its policy of hiring immigrant employees.

Targeted socio-economic measures were aimed at decreasing inequalities and did not interfere in cultural adaptation. Rotterdam stimulated efforts by ethnic minorities to hold on to their culture, identity and religion. Exemplary of this is that space for mosques was reserved by the local government (Moskeeën in Rotterdam 1992). During the 1990s, Rotterdam counted 190 immigrant self-organizations and support organizations (Muskens 1995:17). Some of them were subsidized by the municipality or sub municipalities to enhance integration and emancipation of immigrants. The government’s relations with subsidized organisations was put on a new footing during the 1990s, when more accountability and marked objectives were pursued (Muskens 1995).

4.3 1998–2002: The Multi-coloured City

The political period from 1998 to 2002 was marked by multicultural policies. While policies in the earlier period did not intervene in the socio-cultural dimension of integration, policies in this period explicitly encouraged cultural diversity, marking a shift in targeting. GroenLinks (Green party) Alderman Herman Meijer (1994–2002) was one of the driving forces behind this policy shift, in which Rotterdam’s diversity was presented as a strength (Met Raad en Daad 1998). This diversity policy did not only target immigrants, it also addressed women, youths and disabled people.

With regard to ethnic minorities, priority goals of the Multi-Coloured City policy (in Dutch: ‘Veelkleurige Stad’) were (1) to enhance the participation of allochtoneous citizens in subsidized organizations and initiatives, (2) for the administration of Rotterdam to hire more allochtoneous personnel, also in higher positions, (3) to change the cultural policies of Rotterdam in order to fit the new cultural diversity of the population and (4) to promote and encourage ethnic entrepreneurship and labour market participation (Uitvoeringsprogramma Werk en Economie 1998: 12–13). To this end, a program manager and program team were appointed. Next to this, a think tank was constituted of ‘diverse’ citizens to generate and evaluate ideas. Iconic for this policy phase is the subprogram ‘Education in current allochtoneous languages’ (In Dutch: ‘Onderwijs in Allochtone Levende Talen’) which was implemented in 1998 to offer education in migrant languages at primary schools. This entailed a national regulation that was a good fit with Rotterdam’s local integration policy at the time.

The coalition- and execution program ‘Met Raad en Daad’ problematizes that public services, cultural events, employee stocks and administrative boards do not sufficiently reflect the diversity of the population. The Rotterdam administration therefore strives to alter the situation via the policy programme ‘The Multi-Coloured City’ (Uitvoeringsprogramma Veelkleurige stad 1998). Key to this programme was a positive reinforcement of diversity in all policy domains. Public services, organizations, policies and events were checked for their culturally diverse character. “This creates the opportunity for Rotterdam as one of the first cities to present itself as a multicultural city. A city that citizens are proud of and that benefits from all its diverse talents, and that challenges allochtoneous citizens to claim the position they (wish to) take in Rotterdam” (Uitvoeringsprogramma Veelkleurige stad 1998: 4). The focus was not on socio-cultural contradictions and conflict but on the beneficial nature of cultural diversity. On the socio-economic and spatial dimension of integration, the Rotterdam administration struggled between developing generic policies and specific policies targeting certain ethnic minority groups. Policymakers feared that targeted policies would consolidate social segregation. In 1998 Rotterdam published the Memorandum ‘Effective Policy on Minorities’ (in Dutch: ‘Kadernota Effectief Allochtonenbeleid’). Even though it observed that the socio-economic and educational position of immigrants had improved, it also concluded they still lagged behind in terms of education, labour market participation and housing conditions. It urged immigrants to fully make use of the opportunities offered through existing welfare arrangements. The Memorandum ‘Effective Policy on Minorities’ concluded that general policy measures would be pursued where possible, but specific arrangements for ethnic minorities are implemented where necessary. This was done in case of deficiencies that concern specific ethnic groups or in case of promising initiatives that could be encouraged (1998). One example of such a specific integration measure is the ‘Lus di Trafiko’ (Traffic light) programme, aimed at the (civic) integration of citizens of Antillean origins. To summarize, between 1998 and 2002 Rotterdam integration policies expanded to the social-cultural dimension, explicitly framing diversity as a strength of the city and targeting all citizens. Policy measures on the socio-economic dimension of integration became more targeted. Rotterdam’s integration policies during this period balanced between specific and generic policy measures.

4.4 2002–2006: Local Multicultural Backlash

As of 2002, immigrant integration was high on the political agenda when the new political party ‘Leefbaar Rotterdam’ emerged. Leefbaar Rotterdam propagated that many ethnic minority citizens were insufficiently integrated in the society of Rotterdam. They primarily referred to the socio-cultural dimension of integration, with a specific focus on social and normative cohesion. Leefbaar made immigrant integration one of the main election themes during the local elections of March 2002, which contributed to their electoral success. With 34,7% of the votes, Leefbaar won these elections and became the largest party in the city council. They constituted a political coalition in which they provided three aldermen, together with CDA (Christian Democrats – 2 aldermen) and VVD (Liberal – 2 aldermen). For the first time in many years, the PvdA (Social Democrats) were not part of the coalition.

The new coalition announced a radical break with the previous integration policies. This is indicated by the Coalition Agreement:

In the run up to the 2002 local elections, the feeling amongst many citizens and counsellors had rose that the city had permitted too much change and diversity in the preceding years, leading to social tension and distance between people. People felt as if Rotterdam was no longer their city, not feeling at home in their streets. [...] This translated in the election turnout, which can be summarized in one sentence: things have to change, the cohesion has to be restored. (Het Nieuwe Elan van Rotterdam 2002)

Priority of the coalition was to enhance the identification of citizens with Rotterdam and thereby to reinforce social integration or social cohesion. As a necessary condition for integration, the coalition prioritizes limiting safety issues in Rotterdam by a more repressive policy approach. Vice versa, they expected that more social cohesion would contribute to safety. By stressing good manners and public order, the strengthening of social cohesion in Rotterdam was not only a goal in itself but served first and foremost as a means to prevent criminality and nuisance (Uitermark and Duyvendak 2008).

In contrast to the previous political period, integration was propagated in more assimilationist terms, particularly with regard to the socio-cultural dimension of integration. Additionally spatial and social segregation and deprivation are explicitly linked to the immigrant population. As a local administrative memorandum states: “the influx of immigrants concerns people that in social-economic development, language, culture and religion are on a far distance from the Rotterdam-average [...] this coincides with the high concentration of these groups in certain districts; e.g. segregation” (Rotterdam zet door: op weg naar een stad in balans 2003). Policy measures however did not always fit this rhetoric shift to assimilationism. The framework document on social integration (Kadernotitie Sociale Integratie 2003) proposes to solve the lack of social integration by bringing people together in a cultural and spatial sense. The aimed result of this is active citizenship which involves engagement and involvement with others in the street and the neighbourhoods, as well as with Rotterdam and its citizens as a whole. Local sports activities or ‘street barbecues’ were for example organized to bring a diverse group of citizens in contact with each other. Benefits for social activities were distributed implicitly. Uitermark and Duyvendak (2008) referred to this as ‘assertive social policy’ as the municipality does not merely facilitate citizen actions but actively stimulates them to do so.

In other cases, the political contrasts between Leefbaar Rotterdam and other political parties in the city council prevented assimilationist measures. In the following we discuss three contested examples, firstly, the ‘Rotterdam Act’. An annual prognoses publication of the Rotterdam Bureau of Statistics estimated that in 2017 ethnic minorities would make up over 50% of the entire city-population, with numbers up to 85% in the sub-district of Charlois. In response to this ‘alarming’ report, Alderman Pastors for infrastructure and housing of Leefbaar Rotterdam argued for an ‘immigrant-stop’ (‘allochtonenstop’) and a “fence around Rotterdam” to prevent underprivileged immigrants from moving into the city (NRC Handelsblad 2003, September 12).

The measure caused a lot of political controversy. While outside his party, Pastor’s proposal could initially not count on much political support, there was a shared notion that the influx of ‘disadvantaged households’ to vulnerable neighbourhoods had to be regulated. Eventually the measure was reformulated, targeting ‘disadvantaged households’ in terms of income and employment rather than targeting by ethnicity. The regulation was proposed as a national regulation offering large cities in the Netherlands the discretion to develop measures for specific urban problems in their city. In 2003, the national ‘Wet Bijzondere Grootstedelijke Problematiek’, also known as the Rotterdam-Act, was accepted. Albeit still politically contested – particularly the measure aimed at spreading of disadvantaged people over neighbourhoods to prevent concentration and ‘ghettoization’ – the law was enforced on January 1st, 2006 and still runs today.

A second example the political controversy, typical of this coalition period, often not (fully) putting proposals into action is a policy proposal by alderman Pastors to limit the construction of large mosques in Rotterdam, in 2004. This policy was called Spatial Mosque Policy (in Dutch: ‘Ruimtelijk Moskeebeleid. Een Kader voor Nieuwbouw en Verbouw van Gebedshuizen’ 2004). In this policy, the construction of mosques is explicitly connected to integration of Islamic minorities. The city council claimed that “the realization of large, prestigious plans to build mosques no longer fits in Rotterdams integration policy” (Ibid: 4). Criticism arose among the sub-municipal governments and the political opposition. Leefbaar Alderman Marco Pastors eventually had no choice but to withdraw the proposed policy.

A third and final example is the ‘Rotterdam Citizenship Code’. Next to social cohesion, the city council’s integration policy also propagated ‘normative cohesion’. This stressed that citizens share certain values, norms and behaviours. Instead of diversity as propagated in the previous period, the city council sought conformity between citizens. This search for socio-cultural common ground was most prominent in a series of debates that was initiated. There was the Day of Dialogue, debates on ‘Islam and integration’ and other similar activities. The city council aimed to take the lead in debates about spatial concentration, segregation and dispersal of minority groups, a pluriform society, norms and values and the Islam. As the final product of the integration campaign ‘Rotterdam Mee’ (2005–2006) the city council formulated the ‘Rotterdam Citizenship Code’ (Rotterdamse Burgerschapscode 2006). This outlines the position of the Rotterdam city council in the integration debate. The city council stated that there is a need for such a code because: “diversity can lead to tensions and conflicts when the norms and values of people differ too much; when people want to force on each other their ideas and behaviours; when their behaviours differ from what is normal. To be able to live together in diversity, it is necessary to formulate a number of values and norms that are recognized by all citizens of Rotterdam. And that we use those norms in our everyday lives”(Ibid: 1). The Rotterdam Code consists of the following seven rules:

We, the citizens of Rotterdam,

  1. 1.

    Take responsibility for our city and for each other and we do not discriminate;

  2. 2.

    Use the Dutch language as our common language;

  3. 3.

    Do not accept radicalism and extremism;

  4. 4.

    Educate our children to become full citizens;

  5. 5.

    Treat women equal to men and treat them with respect;

  6. 6.

    Treat homosexuals equal to heterosexuals and treat them with respect;

  7. 7.

    Treat religious people equal to non-religious people and treat them with respect.

Despite the fact that the Code never got accepted by the city council as a municipal guideline, it makes clear that in this policy period for the first time, cultural values of some groups of citizens were explicitly problematized. Differing norms and values are framed as an integration issue. The formulation of favourable norms particularly seemed to address Islamic citizens with differing views on a religious basis. The 2005 action programme ‘Participate or Stay behind’ (Meedoen of Achterblijven? Actieprogramma Tegen Radicalisering en voor Kansen voor Rotterdamers 2005), aimed at the prevention of Muslim extremism. Radicalisation and extremist actions are conceptualized as the counterpart of socio-cultural integration. As a result of these forces preventing assimilationist measures from coming into force, policy measures were not always as assimilationist as they were claimed to be (Uitermark and Duyvendak 2008).

The (rhetorical) break with the preceding years under rule of Leefbaar Rotterdam, marks 2002 as the local backlash against multiculturalism. A turn towards a more assimilationist policies can be recognised. Rather than cultural diversity, social cohesion and (cultural) adaptation are now the key words in the policy documents. Integration policies were closely linked to spatial segregation and issues of safety. In terms of targeting, integration policies in this period focused on ethnic minorities and Muslim minorities specifically. Social cohesion policies on the other hand were aimed at citizens in general.

4.5 2006–2014: Urban Citizenship

In 2006, the social democratic party PvdA (social-democrats) returned as the leading party in the coalition. In the two political periods following 2006, we can observe a turn from integration policy to ‘participation policy’ aimed at all citizens rather than exclusively on immigrants. Citizenship and participation are pivotal terms in this period. Integration is hardly mentioned (explicitly) in policy documents and less policy documents exist than in the period before. This linguistic switch from integration to citizenship shows that not only citizens with a migrant background, but all (disadvantaged) groups of citizens in Rotterdam are targeted by this range of policies. Whilst in the previous period the socio-cultural and spatial dimension of integration were dominant, in the current period, integration is again also framed in terms of socio-economic and legal-political participation. The program broadened the scope of immigrant-integration policies to the ‘urban citizenship’ of all citizens of Rotterdam (Kadernotitie Stadsburgerschap. Het motto is meedoen 2007). Dialogue and debates fulfil a central role in this period, focusing on the core values of taking pride in the city, reciprocity, identity, participation and ethics. Urban Citizenship is intended to form a generic framework for all policies related to integration, participation, emancipation and citizenship. Nevertheless, it must be noted that some specifically targeted programs and financial support constructions from previous coalition periods were continued, despite the new generic citizenship banner. This includes the programme focussing particularly on Moroccan and Antillean youth (Actieprogramma aanpak risicogroepen van Marokkaanse afkomst en Antilliaanse afkomst 2010) and the specific monitoring of Antillean- and Moroccan-Rotterdam citizens (De Boom et al. 2009, 2011). National subsidies for these programmes institutionalized a path dependency. The programmes were aborted between 2011 and 2012 when the national subsidy was ended and the Rotterdam urban citizenship policy entered a second phase.

Integration policies were drastically redefined between 2006 and 2014, moving away from measures targeted specifically at immigrants, thereby moving away from immigrant integration as a separate policy field altogether. A senior integration policy maker and project leader stated that policy makers rather speak of citizenship or participation, than of integration, “If you call the communications department of the municipality today and ask whether we have integration policy, we do not.” This also had institutional consequences. Integration policies from 2012 onwards were developed and executed by the municipal cluster ‘Societal Development’ (in Dutch ‘Maatschappelijke Ontwikkeling’). Subsidy relations with immigrant organizations and other societal organizations were rigorously revised and mostly abolished. In order to preserve the knowledge that these organizations had developed throughout the years, Rotterdam subsidized and cooperated with four newly established ‘expertise centres’ (in Dutch: ‘kenniscentra’) that include some of the earlier organizationsFootnote 1 under their new generic citizenship policies. These centres of expertise deal with diversity, discrimination, women’s emancipation and homosexual emancipation and are meant to inform and raise awareness on these topics across different, generic, policy fields. Each consists of one or multiple relevant organizations Rotterdam previously had independent subsidy relations with. Instead the organizations were now required to cooperate and apply for subsidy as a centre of expertise. While the citizenship-frame was already introduced in 2007, the financial reform a few years later proved to be of decisive influence in realizing the new generic framework when subsidies for mono-cultural organizations and projects were cut. This fits a shift in governance towards a smaller and more efficient government who takes the role of a facilitator, outsourcing or abolishing the frontline social work (Brief en beleidsregel Participatie en Kiezen voor Talent 2011).

The citizenship policy frame stresses that urban citizenship does not only come with rights, but also with obligations and responsibilities for each citizen. This dual notion of citizenship is clearly brought forward in the political programme of 2010: “We will provide space and opportunities to citizens of Rotterdam who are willing and able [to participate, RD], the group that is willing but unable we will support, but at the same time we set boundaries to the ones who are unwilling.” (Coalitieakkoord 2010–2014. Ruimte voor Talent en Ondernemen 2010: 3). The policies focus on a “full utilisation of one’s talents” (Burgerschapsbeleid Participatie: Kiezen voor Talent 2011: 4) and thus assume and require a willingness from all citizens to participate. Participation is explicitly elevated to an individual responsibility – making the ethnic background irrelevant. Most measures thereby focus on citizens who have not reached the level of self-sufficiency yet. Whilst the government will support people who are ‘willing but unable’ to participate, the ones who are unwilling will be approached with repressive measures. “There are people who turn their back to society. Sometimes they are people with radical ideologies who do not wish to respect the law and other citizens. This can concern people who continuously cause nuisance, criminal or uncivilized behaviour. They show no respect for safety and the rights of other people. Those who purposely turn their back to society, can count on repressive measures from judicial institutions and from the Rotterdam municipality to change such developments” (Kadernotitie Stadsburgerschap: Het Motto is Meedoen 2007: 7).

An exception on the generic approach that characterizes this period is the local translation of the EU labour migrant policies (Uitvoeringsagenda 2013–2014 EU Arbeidsmigratie 2013). The municipality of Rotterdam has been involved with the ‘Program EU Labour Migration’ since 2007 with other municipalities housing larger concentrations of EU labour migrants and the national government, lobbying at the EU to target these EU citizens for integration policies (see also Chap. 8). In Rotterdam this resulted in the publication of the ‘Implementation Agenda EU Labour Migration’ in 2013. The agenda has a predominant socio-economic focus, “the emphasis in on ‘work’. For socially weak migrants barriers can be raised that make their residence in the Netherlands and in Rotterdam more difficult and less attractive. … The migrant is responsible for his or her own position in the Rotterdam society. Self-sustainability is a requirement for everyone, also for the labour migrant” (2013, 5). In contrast to the other policies in this period, this program is explicitly specific and burdening EU labour migrants in the city.

To summarise, measures were primarily of a socio-economic nature and not specifically targeted at immigrants or ethnic minorities. On the contrary: “the policy has an inclusive character. No distinction is made based on ethnicity. Mono-ethnic activities are not eligible for subsidies, unless there are strong arguments for doing this” (Burgerschapsbeleid Participatie: Kiezen voor Talent 2011: 24). Implicit benefitting programs were replaced by more result-oriented approach in neighbourhoods that were behind in health, poverty, integration, participation, living, public space and nuisance (Coalitieakkoord 2010–2014. Ruimte voor Talent en Ondernemen 2010) and partly replaced by a focus on the areas of emancipation, discrimination and diversity (Brief en beleidsregel Participatie en Kiezen voor Talent 2011). While the separate organizations and initiatives were previously subsidized to overcome segregation (Samen leven in Rotterdam. Deltaplan inburgering: op weg naar actief burgerschap) the focus now shifts to a generic approach to enhance equality, solidarity and cohesion. The policies focus on four ‘achievement fields’ (Emancipation, Anti-discrimination, Diversity and Non-formal Education), for which four expertise centres have been installed, partly run by previously subsidized organisations.

Although the urban citizenship policy program was targeted at all citizens of Rotterdam, some subprograms implicitly or explicitly focus on ethnic minorities. For instance, there is the execution program ‘Participation through Language’ (Meedoen door Taal 2006). This program intends to improve people’s language skills. Most people who participate in the trajectories this program offers, are part of an ethnic minority. Speaking the Dutch language was portrayed as a necessary condition to participate in society. “Language deficiencies are often at the basis of unemployment, health issues, insufficient societal participation and criminal behaviour” (Actieprogramma Taaloffensief 2011:3). Besides the language programs there is a policy programme that particularly focusses on ethnic minorities with a Muslim identity. The executive programme ‘Building Bridges’ (Dialogen Stadsburgerschap. Bruggen Bouwen. Het Motto is Meedoen 2008) aimed at organizing dialogue about urban citizenship. Additionally, at the end of the second Coalition Period (2010–2014), a new integration approach ‘Mee(r) doen’ (2011) was launched. While generic in principle the program additionally consisted of several policy measures specifically addressing immigrants, thereby responding and adding to the previous strictly generic approach.

The period between 2006 and 2014 illustrates a shift from explicit and specific targeting of immigrants with burdens to a generic rephrasing in terms of inclusive citizenship, ith the EU-labour migration program as a notable exception. However, this rephrasing was so strongly focused on moving away from specific policies that the issue of integration was not touched upon at all anymore, completely disappearing of side in all policy-departments (Van Breugel and Scholten 2017). What stands out clearly from our analysis is the role of budgetary constraints on the shift toward generic policies. The policy developments toward a generic citizenship frame can thus partly be understood as a consequence of retrenchment of the more active (and sometimes group-specific) integration policies. The broadened policy-framework targeted at all Rotterdam citizens, explicitly aims for active participation of these citizens in society. With its focus on the individual level and primary stress on the citizen’s obligations to the city this policy frame can be understood as a further ‘responsabilisation’ (Van Houdt et al. 2011) of integration or citizenship policies from the city to the individual level.

4.6 2014–2018: Back to Specific Targeting

In the 2014 elections, Leefbaar Rotterdam again became the biggest party in the city council and led the new coalition. Similar to 2002, this Leefbaar coalition (including Leefbaar Rotterdam, CDA, D66) placed explicit focus on migrant integration, moving away from the former generic citizenship approach (Coalitie akkoord 2014: 13). An Alderman of ‘Urban development and integration’ was installed and in 2015 the ‘Integration 010’ policy memorandum was published.

Core to the ‘Integration 010’ is the focus on individual responsibility “If you choose for Rotterdam, you learn the Dutch language and respect the norms of our society” (Integratie010 2015: 2). The memorandum distinguishes between those who ‘want, know, can and are allowed’ to participate and addresses these groups in different ways: “Informing and dispersing to migrants who do not know; supporting migrants that are not able; protecting migrants that are not allowed; dealing with migrants that do not want” (Ibid.: 9). The role of the municipality is depicted as monitoring integration problems and “explaining the rules and motivating people to participate.. [but] they themselves are responsible for their own integration process” (Ibid.: 2). In contrast to the preceding period, integration is framed as a process that does not happen automatically but rather requires “hard work by the immigrant” (Ibid.: 4). The new integration policy only marginally calls upon the ‘host society’ to provide conditions for participation by ‘providing equal opportunities’, rather than accommodating diversity.

The Integration010 memorandum and accompanying policy documents emphasize socio-economic and socio-cultural integration, specifically labour market participation, learning the Dutch language (Met taal versta je elkaar 2015) and respecting local norms. In contrast to the previous policy period immigrants or ‘new Rotterdamers’ (Beleidsregel Volwaardig Meedoen in Rotterdam 2016) are again explicitly targeted. Within that group the memorandum distinguishes several specific target groups, including Somalians, Central-, Eastern- and Southern European labour migrants and ‘permit holders’ (refugees with a residence permit, ‘statushouders’ in Dutch). Separate policy programs were developed for these two groups.

The ‘Uitvoeringsagenda EU-arbeidsmigratie 2015–2018’ primarily forms a continuation of the EU Labour Migrant policies in the previous period. It again focuses on responsibility of the EU-labour migrant to participate and contribute to the Rotterdam society. The policies are area-based, targeting those areas where “the effects of the EU free labour are felt most strongly” (Uitvoeringsagenda EU-Arbeidsmigratie 2015: 2). Continued focus on participation, in line with the general focus on self-reliance, for all Rotterdam citizens. Areas in which the policy operates are rather similar to the previous policy period (registration, integration, level playing field and return) and an increasing emphasis on repressive measures in case of criminal behaviour and nuisance.

In response to the increased inflow of refugees since 2014, the city government launched a targeted policy programme for permit holders. Alike other Dutch cities, Rotterdam has a national policy obligation to house a minimum number of permit holders. Additionally, the city drafted a comprehensive approach, reaching beyond the national objectives (Rotterdamse Aanpak Statushouders 2016–2020). Integration policies that were disintegrated under the generic urban citizenship policies in past coalition periods, were now partly rebuild for the refugee permit-holders. This approach focused on housing, as well as language and integration (Ibid.: 10). Dispersal of permit holder housing over the city is an explicit target, as it is believed to help integration, furthermore the permit holders are not to be housed in the ‘Rotterdam-Act’-neighbourhoods (Ibid.: 13). For the social integration trajectory the municipality cooperated with the Dutch Council for Refugees (in Dutch: ‘VluchtelingenWerk Nederland’). Additionally a private foundation developed and funded a special program for a selection of Syrian refugees, by providing housing and additional integration programs in the city (Stichting Verre Bergen).

In line with the ‘integration010’ memorandum, the policy for permit holders furthermore focused on language and integration. Rotterdam strives to have the permit holders pass the civic integration exams 1 year earlier than required by the national government, by having the permit holders participate in society 4 days a week in the form of education, work or volunteering work. While the municipality facilitates the opportunities for the permit holders to learn Dutch, the document also stresses the permit holder’s own responsibility in the process, which is enforced via the Participation Act and Language Requirement Act (Ibid.: 17). Remarkably, most of the measures are benefitting to this specific target group of permit holders which breaks with the trend in the general integration policy (Integratie010 2015). However, underlying motives for these benefitting socio-economic measures are not only ideological, but also practical. They are expected to prevent problems of labour market access and welfare dependency in the later stages of integration. The integration trajectory is linked to the permit-holder’s right to social benefits. Fulfilling the integration trajectory is considered an act of compensation, part of the Participation Act, in which any citizen in Rotterdam is expected to make a societal contribution to compensate for their social benefits. The integration trajectory is thus not only offered as a facility but the commitment of the permit-holders are also strictly enforced and controlled by the municipality to guarantee an equal treatment compared to any other (non-refugee) social beneficiaries. To summarize, while predominantly continuing the burdening, ‘responsibilisation’ framework of the past two Coalition periods, policies are now explicitly targeted at immigrants, with an increased emphasis on adaptation and assimilation, like we saw with the rise of Leefbaar Rotterdam in 2002. An important exception to this rule are however the policies for refugees who recently acquired a residence permit and living in Rotterdam. Targeted policy measures are both benefitting and burdening (or at least conditional) to them. This is driven by both ideological and practical motives: early activation and participation is expected to diminish welfare dependency among these groups later on.

5 Walking the Walk Rather Than Talking the Talk of Superdiversity

When analysing the development of Rotterdam’s immigrant integration policies over the past decades, we can discern different moments of continuity and change in the policy targeting and measures that were applied. Based on the literature on policy frames and targeting (see e.g. Schön and Rein 1994; Schneider and Ingram 1993) we have described how integration policies were targeted over time, and whether the policies were designed to assign benefits or burdens to the distinguished target groups. Thus, this analysis entails an evaluation of the policy’s perceptions of diversity and (un)deservingness.

Based on the analysis as outlined in the previous section, we discern six phases. The start of each phase depicts a moment in which we encountered a policy shift. In general we see a development from generic targeting to specific targeting of ethnic minorities, back to generic targeting. At the same time we see a shift from policies benefitting to policies burdening their target groups. This general development in Rotterdam’s integration policies is depicted in Table 6.1. In the following we will provide a contextualization of the gradual shifts in integration policy targeting by adding an analysis of the problem, political and policy context (Kingdon 1984).

Table 6.1 Typology of shifts in Rotterdam’s integration policies 1978–2018

The first integration policies in Rotterdam (and in the Netherlands in general) were drafted in 1978, in response to the public unrest around housing and the permanent settlement of immigrants. While both at the national and local level the presence of immigrants in the Netherlands was believed to be temporary, the unrest that came to the fore formed a relatively new policy problem context. Rotterdam played a pioneering role in developing the first immigrant integration policies. Despite the public unrest about the availability of public housing, primarily beneficial policies for ethnic minorities were implemented, reflecting broader policies of the social-democratic government coalition in Rotterdam. In this initial period integration was primarily understood as a legal-political issue, as citizenship rights were believed to be a prerequisite for socio-economic and spatial integration. Although this was the first time integration was explicitly addressed, policies were mainly accommodative and intended to encourage participation. The policies were explicitly targeted in generic terms, addressing all Rotterdam citizens alike. There were measures to enhance labour market participation and to encourage inter-ethnic contact. We understand this first period of Rotterdam immigrant integration policies as primarily generic, addressing all citizens of Rotterdam with benefitting measures.

In the following policy period (1985–1998) the primary focus of immigrant integration policies remained the deprivation of ethnic minorities, although then addressed through policies specifically targeting immigrants. The policy context of former (generic) policies was believed to be insufficient to deal with the backlogs as experienced by ethnic minorities in the city. Specifically targeted policies were still primarily framed positively and can thus be labelled as benefitting. In terms of policy strategy however, we see a clear break with the past as the past policies are considered to have insufficiently dealt with the perceived problems. Thus while the perceived policy problems remain roughly the same, it is the policy strategy itself that changes. This policy shift can be further understood from the political context. Although the share of the Partij van de Arbeid (Labour party) in the city council strongly diminished in 1994 (from 6 to 2 Aldermen in the coalition), the party remained a constant partner in the coalitions up to 2002.

Up to 1994 policies were mostly focused on the socio-economic dimension of integration. This changed in the period between 1994 and 2002 when the position of Alderman of integration was in hands of GroenLinks (Green party) councillor Herman Meijer. While policies previously focused on socio-economic deprivation, in 1998 the problem definition shifts to the perception of diversity as a strength. This shift to the socio-cultural dimension of integration, and a positive emphasis thereof, can be linked to Alderman Meijer’s efforts. Rather than deprivation, the limited representation and participation of minority groups in society were perceived as a problem. An important policy programme in this period was the Multi-coloured City (in Dutch: ‘Veelkleurige stad’). The policy provided targeted benefits for expression of ethnic culture, such as music events. Despite the shift in this frame, policies remain specifically targeted and benefitting in nature, linking it to the political period of 1985–1994.

In 2002 the newly elected coalition leader Leefbaar Rotterdam announced to radically move away from the former policy tradition, breaking with the (recent) multicultural trend. The party problematized the benefitting measures for ethnic minorities in Rotterdam and made this into one of the central arguments of their election campaign and later on their work in the coalition. In this policy period (2002–2006) policy-measures remained specifically targeted at immigrant groups, but the character of the measures moves towards burdening. This shift takes place against the background of a wider perceived backlash against multiculturalism at the national and European level, in which a widespread perception that multicultural policies have failed prevails (Vertovec and Wessendorf 2010). Diversity is no longer (only) perceived as a strength but framed as a problem for social cohesion and explicitly linked to safety issues. In terms of targeting, policies in this period increasingly focused on Islam as a problem of its own. Dominant was a rhetorical shift to burdening policies and the explicit specific targeting of immigrants, reflecting the shift in the political context. Albeit the change in focus (from accommodation to adaptation), the specific targeting forms an important continuity with the previous policy period. The political context and remnants from the previous policy phase also explain why, despite the burdening policy narrative, many ethnic-specific policies and subsidies were maintained or how benefiting policies were continuously attributed implicitly.

While Labour came back in the Coalition the next period (2006–2014), the strong presence of Leefbaar Rotterdam in the city council and wider public unrest on integration and former multicultural policies resulted in a shift in a new direction instead of a return to earlier benefitting policies. Whilst the policies remained their focus on adaptation and active participation, the policies were now explicitly generically targeted at all citizens of Rotterdam. This was referred to as ‘urban citizenship’, following the redefinition as initiated in the previous policy period. The problem perception shifted to a lack of self-reliance and participation of all citizens, targeting citizens individually. In 2011 this generic framework was further reinforced when due to austerity measures former subsidy structures and some of the last specific policy measures were revised and vigorously cut. These budgetary cuts proved to be a policy factor of decisive influence. Due to the strong obligatory and individual tone of the policies we understand these as ‘generic burdening’. Immigrant integration priorities disappear from the agenda in this period, as the shift to generic policies is not followed up by a clear integration or diversity orientation.

In 2014, Leefbaar Rotterdam returned in the city council, and similar to 2002, explicit problematization of integration and targeting of immigrants is observable. During the elections, Leefbaar Rotterdam party leader Eerdmans explicitly opposed against the generic urban citizenship frame of 2006–2014, qualifying it as ‘lazy’ and judging that the Alderman had been neglecting integration issues (cf. Eerdmans 2014). Since Leefbaar’s appearance in Rotterdam politics in 2002, the political agenda’s on integration have polarised, leading to the sharp turns in the narratives on integration in 2002, 2006 and 2014. Leefbaar Rotterdam and Labour and the Liberal-Democrats positioned themselves diametrically against their predecessors on this policy issue. However despite these sharp turns in the narrative, again in 2014 continuity in the policies is evident too, manifesting itself primarily in the continuation of the burdening emphasis in the policies and the emphasis on individual responsibility of its citizens, albeit complemented with specific measures targeting citizens with a migrant background.

In light of these trends a remarkable development took place in 2016. In response to the increased inflow of refugees in Europe and national redistribution arrangements, Rotterdam implemented a rather generous integration program for refugee ‘permit-holders’. Although driven by the specific problem context of the increased inflow of refugees, Rotterdam went an extra mile to develop an integration program more ambitious than the national requirements prescribed. Although it fits the socio-economic focus of the Coalition, it forms a notable addition to the burdening policies of this period.

We can thus discern a pattern of continuity and change as summarised in Table 6.1. While policies moved from generic to specifically targeted between 1985 and 2002, both periods in this timeframe were characterised by benefiting policies. In 2002 the specifically targeted policies were continued, although now the immigrant-groups were primarily targeted with burdening policies. In 2006 the burdening policies were continued, although now under a generic header of (individual) responsibilisation. Finally, from 2014 onward, policies have been targeting and burdening for ethnic minorities and particularly those ‘unwilling’ to participate.

These changes in targeting indicate larger frame shifts in integration policies that entail the problem definition that is given to integration and the specific dimension of integration where the policies are aimed at. As our analysis has demonstrated, initial integration policies in Rotterdam primarily addressed socio-economic and legal-political deprivation of immigrants and ethnic minorities. From 1998 attention for the socio-cultural and spatial dimensions of integration grew. After 2006, policies again mainly focused on the exercise of rights and obligations by citizens of Rotterdam – a focus on legal-political integration. In 2014, we observe a returned focus on socio-economic integration.

All in all, the analysis indicates that shifts in Rotterdam’s integration policies are often gradual and build upon earlier policy phases. For example, we saw how the ‘burdening’ policies initiated in 2002 still left room for assigning implicit benefits, despite the strong assimilationist frame for integration in that coalition period. Furthermore, after the subsequent shift to generic policies in 2006 a number of targeted policy programmes for Antillean and Moroccan youth were continued. Lastly, the burdening integration policies from 2014 left room for a remarkably benefitting policies for recently arrived refugees holding a residence permit. While the distinguished policy periods can be sharply contrasted in terms of their framing and (acclaimed) models for integration, our analysis also shows clear traces of policy-continuity between the periods: a difference, between the ‘walk’ and ‘talk’ of integration governance.

6 Conclusions

In this chapter we analysed Rotterdam’s immigrant integration policies over the past four decades: from the first integration memorandum in 1978 until the current integration policies. During these past decades immigrant integration policies in Rotterdam have taken multiple forms. To understand to what extent these developments adhere to Rotterdam’s increasingly superdiverse population, we have analysed how the policies were targeted through time and whether the policy measures were primarily of a benefitting or burdening nature. In this chapter we linked the policy changes to shifts in the problem, policy and political context of Rotterdam. This allowed us to analyse whether changes in policy targeting reflect the problem context of increasing superdiversity of Rotterdam’s population.

In answer to our first research question, How has the city of Rotterdam targeted its ethnic diversity with integration policies over the past four decades? we have distinguished the different means of targeting (specific or generic), the nature of the policies (benefiting or burdening) and the areas the policies focus on (e.g. political-legal or socio-economic). With regard to the targeting of the integration policies we see gradual shifts between the respective periods. Policies shifted from generic and benefiting policies (1978–1985) to specifically targeted policies (1985–2002). In this period, we can distinguish a phase in which policies primarily focused on the socio-economic dimension of integration and a phase in which policies attended to the socio-cultural dimension of integration. Subsequently there was a shift towards specific, burdening policies (2002–2006) and to generic and burdening policies (2006–2014). From 2014 onward, the policies again became specific and burdening in targeting ethnic minority groups. Notable in this regard is how these changes are gradual, shifting between generic and targeted, and benefitting and burdening policies alternatively.

Central to the developments in Rotterdam immigrant integration governance is the continuous act of balancing between generic and specific policies, and an overall shift towards responsibilisation since 2002. Furthermore, we observe that between the late 1990s and early 2000s the division between specific and targeted measures becomes less strict than in the periods before and after. As the aim to balance between ‘general policy measures where possible, but specific arrangements for ethnic minorities if needed’ is introduced in this period. Since then we have seen different variations of this mantra, with a shifting emphasis on the former or the latter as a means to stimulate integration.

The responsibilisation of integration priorities was triggered by the shift in emphasis from rights to obligations in the early 1990s, playing an increasingly central role in integration policies since then. Today, benefitting measures are only available for those who are ‘willing but unable’, including permit holders who arrived in Rotterdam during the ‘refugee crisis’. Those who are considered to unwilling to fulfil their civic duties are no longer entitled to government support. Instead, they are burdened. The policies aim to emancipate citizens and ethnic minorities in particular to become independently willing and able, or as the policies phrase it: ‘self-reliant’.

With regard to the problem, policy and political context that may have influenced these changes, we see varying influences. The first immigrant integration policies in Rotterdam were developed in direct response to a new problem context of housing shortage and public unrest. In the first two policy periods of 1978–1985 and 1985–1998 the perceived problems of integration remained largely the same, but the approach of how to deal with the socio-economic backlogs changed from generic to specifically targeted, and more obligatory policies. Subsequent policy changes seem primarily driven by changes in the political context. Most notably in the transitions between different parties leading the coalitions, such as the transition from Partij van de Arbeid (Labour) to GroenLinks (Green Party) in 1998, the emergence of Leefbaar Rotterdam (Livable Rotterdam) in 2002, and the subsequent shift to Partij van de Arbeid and D66 (Democrats 1966) in the Coalition Periods from 2006 to 2014. Each introduced their own problem definitions and matching models and instruments for integration. Although, as the analysis above shows, these changes were often more gradual than suggested by the political narrative.

It is thus important to distinguish between changes at the level of policy measures and political narrative: the ‘walk’ and ‘talk’ of integration governance. When we analysed how Rotterdam’s integration policies follow the development toward an increasingly superdiverse population of the city, we see an opposite trend in this interplay between narrative and policy measures. Changes in the problem context related to the emergence of superdiversity are never explicitly mentioned at the basis of developments in Rotterdam’s integration policies. This finding leads us to the use of the motto of ‘deeds rather than words’, when it comes to superdiversity, we started this chapter with. It is not until the shift to generic citizenship policies from 2006 onward, that an implicit recognition of superdiversity can be recognised when all Rotterdam citizens were universally addressed.

However, this policy shift was not explicitly based on the increasingly diverse nature of the city’s population, rather inter alia a broader frame of individualisation and wider retrenchment measures (also) play a role here. Besides the move towards generic policies no explicit or active superdiversity orientation was defined. Instead, this policy was reinforced by a problem context of economic austerity and budget cuts that led to a rigorous revision and closing of former specific subsidy programs and policy measures. Furthermore, this policy shift was inspired by a notion of the failure of previous policies. Lastly, the polarized political context of the city council motivated this policy shift. The citizenship policy framework is able to placate multiple political interests (cf. Dekker 2017). With a individualised and generic frame, the citizenship policies fit a superdiverse population. However, the superdiverse problem context or the ‘gospel’ of interculturalism were not present in the problem definition of these policies. Moreover, the city has recently returned to targeted measures, however not distinguishing target groups on the basis of ethnicity but rather willingness and ability to participate. Therefore we conclude that Rotterdams policies are walking the walk, rather than talking the talk of superdiversity.