This research was conducted by Gerbert Kraaykamp, Natascha Notten and Hidde Bekhuis at Radboud University, The Netherlands


This research draws on large-scale survey data to explore possible explanations for the relative lack of engagement in (Western) highbrow culture of migrant communities in the Netherlands. Focusing on Turkish and Moroccan communities, it examines educational attainment (highest level reached), national identification (the extent to which migrants identified with the Netherlands) and social integration (number of Dutch friends) as possible factors to explain why these communities are less likely than to engage in highbrow cultural activities. As expected, highly educated migrants and those in full-time education attended highbrow cultural events more often than other migrants. More identification with Dutch society led to more cultural engagement. Migrants with social networks containing more Dutch friends and more highly education friends were more likely to engage in highbrow culture. Of these factors, the level of education was the most important in determining highbrow cultural engagement.

Highbrow cultural engagement was defined as attendance at classical concerts, art exhibitions and theatre

This study confirms previous research showing higher educated people are more likely to engage in highbrow culture, and that identification with the country is also likely to increase engagement. In addition, as people normally attend cultural events with others, a person’s social network is likely to impact on their engagement.

These findings may well also hold true for other migrant communities in the Netherlands and beyond

Cultural institutions in the West are increasingly under pressure to increase the size and diversity of their audiences, both to fill gaps left by cuts in government subsidies and to better reflect the make-up of the national population. Migrant communities are one important group that could be engaged in the expansion of audiences. The research shows that increasing the educational opportunities and attainment of migrant communities and their children is likely to be the most effective way of increasing their engagement in highbrow culture.

This summary is by Ruth Craggs, King’s Knowledge Exchange Associate

Title Highbrow cultural participation of Turks and Moroccans in the Netherlands: Testing an identification and social network explanation
Author(s) Kraaykamp, G., Notten, N. & Bekhuis, H.
Publication date 2015
Source Cultural Trends, Vol 24, Iss 4, pp 286-298
Author email