From 2015 onwards, the Netherlands has experienced a large influx of refugees. This new wave of immigrants has contributed significantly to the Dutch population growth, predominantly receiving refugees coming from Syria. Once these refugees arrive in the Netherlands, the process of acculturation starts; in order to achieve a successful integration refugees are required to learn the language and cultural practices of the host society. NGOs are organisations that help newcomers by offering them support. One main aspect that concerns NGOs is providing support that increases job employment amongst refugees, since it is seen as the most fundamental factor for a successful integration. However, despite the help and support offered by NGOs, the majority of refugees remain unemployed. Coming from recent studies and integration literature, social media is understood to serve as an important tool in the integration process, particularly when it comes to job employment. Refugees are digitally connected and have access to online sources in order to seek information about job employment. In this regard, websites and platforms such as Facebook play a fundamental factor in NGOs’ communication strategies. Differences and similarities in NGOs’ and refugees’ their social media usage have been observed and elaborated on. This study aims to ascertain how NGOs could improve their communication strategies in order to reach newcomers and increase job employment amongst refugees. This research makes use of qualitative content analysis and in-depth interviews. These interviews have been conducted with four NGOs and seven Syrian refugees. The findings reveal that the social media networking sites are relevant for the NGOs’ existence, but less advantageous for refugees. Social media usage amongst refugees has other motives, such as social bonding with the host society and keeping in touch with family and friends in the country of origin. In addition, it appeared that offline communication has proven more effective to those interviewed. Surprisingly, the greatest similarity between the interviews with NGOs and refugees was that offline communication, and particularly personal communication, is regarded in the same way as being more advantageous than online communication. Another important finding concludes that the majority of jobs offered in the Netherlands are below the level of the highly educated refugees, which also leads to non-participation in the Dutch labour market. This study suggests recommendations on two-way communication strategies of NGOs and argues that a more flexible system of recognising the qualifications of Syrian refugees could be beneficial in a two-way integration process.

Additional Metadata
Keywords media, business, NGO, Online Communication, Intercultural Communication, Integration, Refugees
Thesis Advisor N. Montes
Persistent URL
Series Media & Business
A. Trimpe Burger. (2019, June 24). The Integration of Syrian Refugees into Dutch Society Investigating the intercultural communication strategies of NGOs in this digital era. Media & Business. Retrieved from