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Moving the Middle

Reaching the Dutch Movable Middle in the Debate on Migration

To address the prevailing negative narratives and views on migration remains a sensitive subject. Often, the extreme opposites make themselves heard in this debate; those firmly against migration versus those strongly in favour. But what about the individuals in the space between these extremes?

This group is known as the Movable Middle. This can be people who can be in favour of migration but simultaneously feel resistant and hesitant about it, and who tend not to have a strong opinion on the topic.
To contribute to the goal of promoting open and evidence-based public discourse and the SDG 16 to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for all, the ‘Moving the Middle’ project aims to improve our understanding of who belongs to the Movable Middle in the Netherlands and how they can best be reached.

Previous research on the Movable Middle has been conducted in other European countries on their respective population segments. ‘Moving the Middle’ follows a similar research path but focuses on the Netherlands and implements a mixed-methods research approach.

The project ran from 1 February 2022 until 30 April 2024.

Project Goals

The project supports the following goals:

  • To improve social cohesion and enhance positive narratives about migrants.
  • To create a more inclusive Dutch society by fostering an attitude of openness and inclusion towards migrants in the Netherlands among the Movable Middle.

The project is supported by a Migrant Ambassador Advisory Board (MAAB) to ensure that migrant voices are included. The board consists of five ambassadors who reflect the diverse migrant backgrounds in the Netherlands to provide input and advice in and throughout the project’s activities


  1. Conducting a three-phase research plan to gain more insights into who the Dutch Movable Middle is, what characteristics they have, and what opinions they have about migration. These insights will eventually be used to create a communication strategy to approach this group and report on migration in a more nuanced way.
  2. Designing and launching an online campaign to expose the Dutch Movable Middle to a more nuanced view of migration.
  3. Organizing local intercultural events to connect the Dutch Movable Middle with newcomers to reduce (potential) harmful stereotypes and promote social cohesion.
  4. Collecting all findings and publishing two knowledge dossiers on: 
    • how to create nuanced and evidence-based messaging to target the Dutch Movable Middle.
    • how to organize intercultural events to bring different social groups together to create new social connections.

Moving the Middle Knowledge Dossiers

After the research conducted in the first phase of the Moving the Middle project, we were left with the question - now what? And so, phase 2 took the next step and focused on how we can best turn knowledge into practice.

In the second Knowledge Dossier of the Moving the Middle project, questions are explored such as:

  • How can you design a national campaign to target the Dutch Movable Middle and expose them to more nuanced and fact-based messaging about migration?
  • What do you need to think about when organizing an intercultural event to bring newcomers and the Movable Middle together?

Curious about our findings and best practices?
Read more in our latest Knowledge Dossier!


For more information or relevant queries, please reach out to Sandra Kluivers, Project Assistant at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at +31 6 5111 55 31.

Download the info sheet "Moving the Middle"