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TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Role of the Dutch in the Iroquois Wars
by Peter Lowensteyn




Appendix:
The Dutch Community in Quebec since 1986


by Peter Lowensteyn

(in progress)

Since the study was written by my wife in 1986, the Dutch community in Quebec has followed a path that could be foreseen at that time. Immigration from the Netherlands had declined drastically by the mid 1980's, while the descendants of the Dutch immigrants in Quebec continued to move away to other parts in Canada, although no longer on the scale as seen in the late 1970's.
As a result the social institutions began to dwindle and it is surprising that a few of them are still operating today.

SOME STATISTICS

In Canada, the 1991 Census shows, 19,915 Canadian spoke Dutch at home, while 146,420 had Dutch as mother tongue. This shows a considerable level of integration.

Judging by the Dutch mother tongue statistics, the following years show a further shift away from the Dutch heritage.


Table XXI: Population with Dutch as mother tongue,
by province and territory (2001 Census)

Canada

128,670

Newfoundland and Labrador

90

Prince Edward Island

480

Nova Scotia

1,980

New Brunswick

855

Quebec

3,220

Ontario

69,655

Manitoba

3,975

Saskatchewan

1,930

Alberta

19,575

British Columbia

26,740

Yukon Territory

100

Northwest Territories

65

Nunavut

0

Source: Statistics Canada, Census of population.
Last modified: 2005-01-27.




Table XXII: Selected Quebec Cities

 

1996

2001

Decline

Canada

133.805

128.670

- 3.8%

Quebec Province
Montreal
Chicoutimi
Quebec City
Sherbrooke
Trois Rivieres

4.320*  
2.825**
10   
115   
65   
15   
*including 665 Flemish
**including 400 Flemish

3.895*  
2.560**

35   

30   
*including 655 Flemish
and 15 Frisian
**including 370 Flemish
and 10 Frisian

- 9.8%
- 9.3%




Ontario

71.675

69.655

- 2.8%

Source: Statistics Canada, 1996 Census Nation tables
Source: Statistic Canada, 2001 Census of Population



Table XXIII: The ten largest groups with a mother tongue other
than English or French, and all Aboriginal languages(1)

1971

 

%

Mother tongue

German
Italian
Ukrainian
Netherlands (Dutch)
Polish
Greek
Chinese
Magyar (Hungarian)
Portuguese
Yiddish

Aboriginal languages



558,965
538,765
309,890
146,690
136,540
103,725
95,910
87,465
85,845
50,320

178,545



2.6
2.5
1.4
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.4
0.4
0.2

0.8

1991

 

%

Mother tongue

Italian
Chinese
German
Portuguese
Ukrainian
Polish
Spanish
Punjabi
Netherlands (Dutch)
Greek

Aboriginal Languages



538,695
516,875
490,650
220,630
201,320
200,395
187,615
147,260
146,425
132,980

190,160



2.0
1.9
1.8
0.8
0.7
0.7
0.7
0.5
0.5
0.5

0.7

The Dutch disappear from the top ten.

 

%

1996
Netherlandic languages
Dutch
Flemish
Frisian


143,705
133,805
6,985
2,920

2001
Netherlandic languages
Dutch
Flemish
Frisian


137,870
128,670
6,015
3,190

Source: Statistics Canada: 1996 and 2001 Censuses: Mother tongue,
home language and knowledge of languages, December, 1997




Tables XXII and XXIII show that while the decline in Canada can be seen in terms of death of first generation immigrants and further integration of the second generation, the stronger decline in Quebec also shows a departure from that province.

In 1971 there were 146,690 Canadians (0.7%) who gave Dutch as mother tongue. In 1991 the absolute number had remained more or less the same with 146,425, but now it constituted only 0.5% of the total population, although the Dutch were still in the top ten. In 1996 the category “Netherlands (Dutch)“ was no longer one of the top ten. In 2001 the numbers further declined.

Table XXIII shows the rate of shift from mother tongue to one of the official languages in comparison. People in language groups with many recent immigrants to Canada had a far greater tendency to use their mother tongue at home than people in language groups in which immigration has declined during the past 25 years


Table XXIV: Rate of language shift, main mother tongue groups
other than English or French, Canada 1996

Rate of language shift

%

Mother tongue
Chinese
Italian
German
Spanish
Portuguese
Polish
Punjabi
Arabic
Ukrainian
Tagalog (Pilipino)
Dutch
Greek


15.5
50.6
71.2
27.4
36.8
37.9
15.6
30.9
76.5
36.2
87.2
36.0

Source: Statistics Canada, 1996 Census: Mother tongue,
home language and knowledge of languages




The table shows that with an 87.2% language shift, the Dutch have the highest rate, followed by the Ukrainians and the Germans. With such a percentage shift there is not much hope for the survival of the Dutch language in Canada.

Table XXV shows that only a small percentage of Dutch immigrants speak neither English nor French, a strong indicator of integration.



 

Table XXV: Knowledge of Official Languages

TITLE

Total -
Knowledge
of official
languages

English
only

French
only

English
and French

Neither
English
nor French

1996

Netherlandic
languages
Dutch
Flemish
Frisian

143,700

133,805
6,985
2,920

129,610

121,625
5,195
2,795

305

155
150
0

13,235

11,530
1,600
105

550

495
35
20

2001

Netherlandic
languages
Dutch
Flemish
Frisian

137,875

128,670
6,015
3,190

123,715

116,430
4,285
3,005

235

120
115
0

13,460

11,680
1,610
170

460

445
0
15


Statistics Canada, 1996 and 2001 Censuses



TWO QUESTIONNAIRES


My own limited research in 2005 of the Dutch in the Montreal region shows a similar picture of high integration.

One questionnaire (PDF - 20KB) was given to those born in the Netherlands and who presently live in the Province of Quebec, and who for most of the time since their emigration to Canada have lived in this Province. (30 respondents)
Another questionnaire (PDF - 20KB) was given to those born in Canada of Dutch Parent(s) who presently live in the Province of Quebec and who have lived for most of their life in this Province. (20 respondents)
The questionnaires were designed to evaluate the level of integration.

QUESTIONNAIRE 1:

First generation Dutch immigrants in the Montreal region, both urban and rural show a high level of integration and of their children only 7% had married a spouse of Dutch origin.

However, they also maintain some Dutch cultural traditions, such as during birthdays and anniversaries (86%), occasionally eating traditional Dutch food (87%), while they also celebrated Dutch traditional holidays (often 33%, sometimes (47%). They had brought up their children with some of the Dutch values and traditions (very much so 27%, somewhat 57%). They claimed that 63% of their children were interested in their Dutch background and 53% considered it an asset for themselves.

Of them, 33% were still Dutch citizens and of those 66% had no plans of becoming Canadian citizens. On the other hand, only 20% regularly spoke Dutch at home and 26% still read in Dutch. Only 37% belonged to any Dutch association in Canada and only 3% belonged to an association in their home country. Only 13% stated that their friends were mostly Dutch.

They were in general very satisfied with their lives in Canada and had no plans of moving back to the Netherlands, although many visited the home country frequently (67% ten times or more), while visitors from the home country came to see them (57% ten times or more). They still read occasionally Dutch newspapers or followed the news via the Internet (27% often, 67% sometimes).

They had improved their level of education in Canada as 50% received their education in the Netherlands as well as in Canada. Upon arrival their level of education had been as follows: elementary 13%, high school 33%, university 53%, while their level of education was at present: elementary 3%, high school 20%, university 76%. Although the sample may have been somewhat skewed toward the higher level of education, other statistics show that the level of education of Dutch Canadians in Quebec was high, as was their level of income.

Of them only 17% had all of their children living outside of the province, while 33% had all of them still living in the province. It does seem as if the "great exodus" has considerably slowed down.

QUESTIONNAIRE 2:

The children of first generation Dutch Canadians show an even greater level of integration. Only 10% was married to a Dutch spouse. Only 5% could still write fairly well in Dutch, while 50% could still speak it fairly fluently. They maintained some Dutch tradition as 50% claimed to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with some Dutch traditions. They still eat traditional Dutch food often (30%) or sometimes (60%), while they follow certain Dutch tradition often (15%) or sometimes (60%). Whereas 50% stated that they were brought up the same as their neighbours, another 50% considered their upbringen to have been quite different from their non Dutch neighbours.
None of them had mostly friends of Dutch origin, while only 30% of them spoke Dutch with their parents frequently. Of their children 70% spoke no Dutch at all. None of them belonged to a Dutch organization in Canada. Of them only 5% spoke Dutch at home and they rarely (35% or never (55%) read Dutch books, newspapers or periodicals or followed the Dutch news via the Internet.

However, 50% had visited the Netherlands four times or more, while 55% claimed that they were bringing up their children with the aim of maintaining certain Dutch values and traditions. Of them 55% still saw themselves as either Dutch-Canadian or Dutch-Québéquois. 35% of them had gone to the Netherlands as part of their education and 55% wouldn't mind living in the Netherlands for a few years, although none would want to live there for the rest of their lives. They had (often 60%) contact with their cousins in Canada, but only 20% had sometimes contact with cousins in the Netherlands. They themselves had often (30%) or sometimes (35%) contact with relatives in the Netherlands. Of them 85% were interested in their Dutch background and 85% considered it to have been an asset.

As far as leaving the province is concerned, only 20% answered "may be", the rest planned to stay and considered their future to be good here (95%).
Their level of education was high, with 20% having finished high school and 80% university.

The conclusion for the future of the Dutch community in Quebec is clear. As the first generation Dutch immigrants begins to dwindle and as no significant numbers of new Dutch immigrants are entering the province, and as the second generation shows a minimal interest in maintaining Dutch institutions, the continued existence of such institutions is only a question of time.

An interesting article by Michiel Horn, called "Identities are not like hats": Reflections on Identity Change, Dutch to Canadian appeared in the latest issue of the Canadian Journal of Netherlandic Studies (XXVI, i). His observations run parallel to the ones mentioned above.

COMMUNITY LIFE

 


Canada Day Parade in Montreal in 1996, from l.t.r.: Janny, Ilka and Wanda Lowensteyn



The Dutch Canadian Association probably was the most important and oldest of the Clubs in the Montreal area, but it too fell victim to the dwindling interest of the Dutch community. Virginie Sondermeyer provided me with the following information:

In November 1987 the last issue of the Association's magazine "De Nieuwe Weg" was published. The Association's main activity, the organization of the yearly Sinterklaas Dans, came to an end with the last dance on December 3rd, 1988. The membership list became a list of Dutch people in the Greater Montreal area which was regularly updated. From 1988 till 1991 help and financial support was given to the Cooperative d'Habitation Neerlandaise de Montreal Metropolitain also known as "l'Orangerie". In the 1990's, The Dutch Canadian Association together with The Netherlands Society organized the yearly "Koninginne Dans" as well as several concerts and film evenings. On July 1, 1996, a donation of $100 was given to a group of about 10 persons of Dutch descent to participate for the first (and last) time in the Canada Day Parade in Montreal. A truck carried sound equipment, Dutch songs were played, bicycles and participants were "decorated" in red, white, blue and orange. The last rental period (Oct.31, 2000-Oct.31, 2001) of the Association's P.O. Box 385 in Roxboro was paid. Mail, from then on, was sent to the home address of one of the members of the Board. In December 2005, the remaining members of the Board (Angie and Onno Kruller, Marian Arts, Virginie Sondermeyer were present. Henk de Langen was not present) decided to close the bank account of the DCA before bank costs would whittle down to zero the amount left (a little under $700). Two donations of equal amounts were made to "Dans La Rue" Montreal, an organization serving youth on the street and the "West Island Palliative Care Residence" in Kirkland, QC. Membership fees to CAANS, which have been paid since 1984, were paid up till 2007 incl.

The "Borrel Club" (Dutch speaking professionals and businessmen) and the "Dames Borrel Club" (ladies) as well as CAANS continue to fulfill a certain demand.

The "Borrel Club" still meets regularly.

The more informal "Dames Borrel Club" was started by Louise Hegenbarth. Since a few years Willie Lubbers and Virginie Sondermeyer try to have two or three get togethers a year, depending on whether they can find ladies who are willing to host the Club at their home. Average attendance: 22.

In January 2004, several Dutch ladies came to the formation of a Luncheon Club. A criterion for participation is that one speaks Dutch, although the speaker during the luncheon may well be English speaking and the chosen subjects are wide-ranging. Average attendance: 18.

There is also a group called "Dutch Treat" for new arrivals and persons who like to keep their Dutch language skills, which holds informal once a month get togethers.

CAANS lecture by the Dutch author Abdelkader Benali

CAANS is at present the only Dutch formal institution still in operation in Montreal, but the association changed considerably over the years since 1986. As mentioned in the main thesis, lectures at the academic level were given in English or French but only attracted a limited audience. To change that, the members of the executive introduced Dutch as the main language of the association after the original founders of CAANS-Montreal were no longer on the executive.
CAANS Montréal, Vereniging voor Nederlandse en Vlaamse Cultuur (CAANS-Montreal, Association of Dutch and Flemish Culture) as it is now called, is still very active and organizes monthly (September-June) lectures, movie showings, as well as two yearly poetry readings. Some of the events are organized in cooperation with and supported by the National organization of CAANS. The association attracts an average of 30 to 40 people, mostly of Dutch and Flemish background, to its events. (Lecture Programme from September 1999 till June 2012 {in Dutch - PDF 115KB})
A similar change from English and French to Dutch as the main language took place in other CAANS Chapters, but not as rigorously as in Montreal.

Each year the Dutch Consulate General organized a reception to celebrate the Queens Birthday. As the Consulate closed in July 2009, its involvement in Dutch cultural and business representations in the province came to an end. The celebrations are still being held, organized by members of the community.

Members of the Dutch community in Montreal have set up a website called: Nederlanders in Montreal. It offers a social and business meeting point for Dutch people living in and around Montreal.

A few years ago, Paul Frenay was running a partially Dutch language programme on cable television called Jase Café, but it ceased operations.

When one looks at the membership of the above mentioned institutions, one sees a considerable overlap, with several members being first generation immigrants. What this holds for the future remains to be seen.

There is also a senior citizens housing co-op as a member/tenant controlled non-profit organization in operation called NETHERLANDS MONTREAL at 200 Ernest, Apt. 34, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, H9A 3H7.

The First Christian Reformed Church of Montreal is still in operation at 52 Joseph Paiement, Dollard des Ormeaux, QC. The present pastor is Jake Boer. However, the focus of the church has always been on the Christian Reformed faith, not on maintaining Dutch ethnicity, and although some of the members are still of Dutch background, the church is no longer a "Dutch" church.

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