THE DUTCH MIGRATION TO CANADA AND HURON COUNTY IN THE 1950s

Following World War II large number of Dutch citizens immigrated to Canada through Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. From 1928-1971 the Dutch were the fifth largest ethnic group to come to Canadian shores. In the pre Second World War years the largest percentage of Dutch citizens settled in Ontario.

World War II took a huge toll on the Netherlands, and when the Canadians liberated their country many young families, young married couples and single individuals decided to begin a new life in Canada instead of elsewhere. Among the first arrivals were 2,000 Dutch war brides who had married our Canadian military personnel.

Dutch immigration to Canada peaked in the late 1940s and 1950s. In 1948, a poll taken in Holland indicated that 33% of the Dutch population were prepared to leave their homeland for a better life elsewhere. The two main factors for this were:  

a) growing population pressures.   b) the economy of the Netherlands was in ruins.
In fact, the Government of the Netherlands began to promote the idea of emigration as a means to solving the overpopulation crisis and their economic issues and problems. 

Canada's popularity as a new home grew following the reports of Dutch folks already in Canada writing to their family and friends back home about all the land that was available and if you worked the streets could be paved with gold. They also wrote home that Canada was free and it was democratic. Large numbers of Canadian farmers sponsored Dutch families to come to Canada to work for them for two years before they could purchase their own land. Some of the sponsoring farmers were no different than what you found in a concentration camp while other Canadian farmers welcomed the newcomers almost like family. The programs in Canada to sponsor a Dutch family were the “Netherlands Farm-Families Movement” and the “Netherlands-Canada Settlement Scheme”.

Many families who came to Canada from the Netherlands would talk about the “kist”. The Government in the Netherlands would allow those emigrating to Canada to take a small amount of money with them but they could bring all of their possessions, and many did. One family even brought the rock that held their door open in Holland with them because they did not know if Canada had rocks. 

The crest of the Dutch migration to their new homeland was 1953 with 20,095. During the year 1952 there were slightly more arrivals than in 1953. By 1954 the 100,000 Dutch citizen arrived in Canada. The scale of the postwar Dutch immigration is unprecedented in their history.

Up until 1982 over 500,000 Dutch people said good bye to their homeland and built their new lives in Canada, Australia, the United States and South Africa.

Following five years of living in Canada, working to provide for your families, obeying the laws of Canada one could apply to become a Canadian citizen.

In Goderich for example the Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire played a large part in the process of one becoming a Canadian citizen. These ladies sponsored the receptions which were usually held at the Legion Hall following the citizenship ceremonies. 

During a 1956 citizenship ceremony held at the Goderich Courthouse, Peter Bakelaar stated “this is a fine country, and a country which we chose.”

The presiding judge at this particular ceremony was Judge Fingland and he stated that “man's greatest attribute was the burning desire for freedom.” He also said to those who had left a troubled homeland, Judge Fingland commanded the freedom offered by this nation. He also said “Canada is a young country, with great people, and people make history.”
During each and every citizenship ceremony that took place in Goderich, each person becoming a Canadian citizen displayed unmistakable pride and joy in receiving their Canadian citizenship papers.

1950 Arrivals in Huron County

  De Groots Benmiller  
Anna  Koldyke Goderich 68 Essex Street
Ben  Koldyke Goderich 68 Essex Street
Gabe Koldyke Goderich 68 Essex Street
Martha Koldyke Goderich 68 Essex Street
S.S. Koldyke Goderich 68 Essex Stree

1951 Arrivals in Huron County

Mr. & Mrs S.Hibma Wingham R.R. 4
Donald Hibma Wingham R.R. 4
Frankie Hibma Wingham R.R. 4
John Hibma Wingham R.R. 4
Richard Hibma Wingham R.R. 4

1953 Arrivals in Huron County

Kloes de Groot Goderich R.R. 4
Marten de Groot Benmiller  
Martha de Groot Goderich R.R. 4
Scintje de Groot Goderich 94 Elgin Street
Joseph de Wilde Seaforth R.R. 3
Jan de Wilde Seaforth R.R. 3
Margie de Wilde Seaforth R.R. 3
Richye de Wilde Seaforth R.R. 3
Annie Kiut  Goderich  R.R. 4
Bob Kiut  Goderich  R.R. 4
Jacob Kiut  Goderich  R.R. 4
Mrs. Kuiper  Goderich  78 Brock Street
Angeline Kuiper  Goderich  78 Brock Street
Peter Kuiper  Goderich  78 Brock Street
G. Kuit  Goderich  R.R.4
John Kuit  Goderich  R.R.4
Daco Zoethout Goderich  R.R.4
G. Zoethout Goderich  R.R.4
J. Zoethout Goderich  R.R.4
Kiemer Zoethout Goderich  R.R.4
Riener Zoethout Goderich  R.R.4
S. Zoethout Goderich  R.R.4
Tjeerd Zoethout Goderich R.R.4

1954 Arrivals in Huron County

Jane Kaptier  Goderich  
Fred Knetsch Goderich  
Freddie Knetsch Goderich  
Chris Knetsch Goderich 113 Wolfe Street
Lewis Knetsch Goderich 113 Wolfe Street
Corry Vander Berg Goderich 155 Cambridge Street
Henry Vanderbergh  Goderich 142A The Square
Mary Vanderbergh  Goderich 142A The Square