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Factors that influence cross-border (im)mobility in the Dutch-German labour market

My name is Maximiliane Karla Boels.

What are the factors that influence cross-border (im)mobility in the Dutch-German labour market?


The Netherlands is the most important trading partner for NRW. These close economic ties are unique in this form in Europe. But this symbiosis is not reflected in the cross-border labour market. The reasons for the low number of cross-border workers are bureaucratic, but above all language and cultural differences.

The European Union sets the framework for an unprecedented, free-flowing labour market from which the border region between NRW and the provinces of Limburg, Gelderland and Overijssel can benefit. It remains to be clarified why this potential is not sufficiently exploited.

Research design

The bachelor thesis analyses the reasons for cross-border (im)mobility between the Dutch and German labour market, with focus on the border region North-Limburg and the Niederrhein, by means of a quantitative analysis based on a self-developed survey. The target group of the survey will be active workers in the Dutch-German labour market. The posed questions are based on the theory of Push and Pull Factors according to Everett S. Lee.

The probable outcome / conclusion

The potential of the European cross-border labour market is not perceived by potential workers due to language, cultural and administrative barriers. The Threshold of Indifference developed by Martin van der Velde and Henk van Houtum offers a plausible explanation for this phenomenon. It explains the urge of people to belong, to create and defend their ,own space’. The nation still functions as an intuitive structure and creates mental distance towards the other side of the socially constructed border.

For an functioning European/Dutch-German labour market, people, but also political institutions, need to revision our nationalistic differences politics.

Furthermore, there is a need to invest in the early linguistic and cultural education of a European generation in order to overcome the Threshold of indifference.

Contact: Maximiliane Karla Boels, m.boels@fontys.nl, +31 8850 739 91.