Of the immigrants who came to Alberta after World War II, the Dutch
were the third largest group.
World War II devastated the countryside of the Netherlands,
destroying many farms and houses.
Coupled with a low infant mortality
rate and a high birth rate, there was a struggle to support the
existing population. As a result, the Netherlands
food shortages, unemployment, and a volatile post-war economy.
In response to the upheaval, the government of the Netherlands assisted the emigration
of its people, providing information on receiving countries, money to help
emigrants re-establish themselves,
and transportation by ship and air to their new destinations. Canada was a natural choice for many of the Dutch
immigrants as it was one of the closest receiving countries to
their homeland and the bustling Canadian economy offered the Dutch
a chance to start over and gain renewed prosperity.
Canadians, too, welcomed the arrival of the Dutch. They were regarded as
equals and therefore did not have to face the
cruelties of racism as did many other immigrants who settled in
Canada. Government officials also believed the Dutch to be ideal
settlers as many were farmers in their homeland and therefore
perfect prospects to settle and cultivate the fertile lands in the
Although the majority of Dutch coming into Canada were destined for Ontario, the third largest group of
immigrants coming to Alberta were the Dutch, outnumbered only by the British and the German.
As post-war Alberta began to experience significant changes in
agriculture, the Dutch were adapting quickly to new technologies in farming, which
made it possible to farm
larger areas of land with fewer people. By 1961 Holland's economy
began to improve which led to a decrease in the number of Dutch
settlers to Canada and Alberta. The Dutch communities throughout
Alberta have made great contributions to the advancement of
farming in the province and have become important members of
modern Albertan and Canadian society.
This digital collection was
produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital
Collections initiative, Industry Canada.