Into Their World…The Arabs of the Netherlands

Diaspora Arabs look
radically different than the
more traditional Arabs.

With more than 200 million Arabs making up the majority populations of twenty-two nations, this people group represents the largest, most diverse and most politically influential Muslim ethnic group in the world. Many of these Arabs, including those found in the Netherlands, are known as “Diaspora Arabs” and look radically different from the more traditional Arabs. Most Diaspora Arabs identify themselves by nationality rather than tribal affiliations and nearly forty percent live in urban areas.

Although true Arabs are proud of their heritage, due to the influence of Western culture, Diaspora Arabs have gone through great changes in traditional values. Women have greater educational and employment opportunities, there are less arranged marriages and there is less social pressure to conform to traditional religious practices. Despite these changes, Diaspora Arabs hold fast to their original language, which takes two forms: “classical Arabic,” the religious and literary language spoken and written uniformly throughout the Arab world, and “colloquial Arabic,” the informal spoken language which varies by dialect from region to region.

Since the Prophet Mohammed first preached the tenets of Islam to the Arabs in the seventh century, the link between Arabs and Islam has been strong. Nearly ninety-three percent of Arabs today are Muslim. They belong to a number of sects, including the Shia, the Alawi, the Zaidi and the Sunni.

Although fundamental Muslims are very outspoken against Christianity, the weakening condition of the Diaspora Arabs’ traditional Muslim culture opens up doors for Christians to share the gospel. Pray for the Diaspora Arabs in the Netherlands. Pray they would see Jesus as new doors open for them in a culture unlike anything they had ever known.

For more information on the Arabs of the Netherlands, visit:

(Information compiled from


(Note: The website links above are intended to provide you with more information about this people group. Some of the links are to groups that are not religious in nature but who provide information and background that may be helpful in researching this people group. The content of each of the websites linked to is the sole responsibility of the linked-to organization. Views expressed on these websites do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of the staff or writers of Lausanne World Pulse or those of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, Institute of Strategic Evangelism, Evangelism and Missions Information Service or Intercultural Studies Department.)

Laurie Fortunak Nichols is editorial coordinator of Lausanne World Pulse. She also serves as editorial coordinator for the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College and managing editor and book review editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly (EMQ). She has edited a number of books, including the recent Extending God's Kingdom: Church Planting Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, with A. Scott Moreau and Gary R. Corwin.