All people are equal. By equality, we do not mean that all people have to be the same because, clearly, everyone is different. However, all people are of equal value. And everyone must be treated in the same way.


Equal treatment

In the Netherlands, people in the same situations are treated equally. This is known as the right to equal treatment. Whether you are a man or woman, gay or straight, young or old or born in the Netherlands or elsewhere. Equal treatment also means that everyone in the Netherlands must abide by the same rules. There are no separate rules for Christians, Muslims or those of other faith and no different rules for women or gay people. Of course, equal treatment can only be applied in identical situations, or situations that are very similar. Employers may not turn down women for jobs or treat them differently because they are pregnant or have young children. And a woman may not be paid less than a man for the same work. For example, in supermarkets, staff cannot be dismissed because they are getting too old. Where you come from does not matter. No matter where someone comes from, everyone has a right to equal treatment. This means that you also have the same right to a job as someone who was born in the Netherlands. It is also important that people with physical or mental disabilities can take part in society. They must therefore also be given the same opportunity to work as other people.


Ban on discrimination

In practice, you can unfortunately be confronted with discrimination. This may occur if employers would prefer a Dutch employee rather than a Pole or a person from Suriname. Or when people are refused entry into bars/ nightclubs because they are a certain race. This is unacceptable. LGBTI and straight people must also be treated equally. LGBTI people have the same rights as everyone to their own lifestyles and to their own associations; same-sex marriages are also permitted in the Netherlands. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to permit this. In short, discrimination is never acceptable in the Netherlands. You may not face discrimination on the grounds of your beliefs, origins or lifestyle. You may also not discriminate against others on the basis of their beliefs, origins or lifestyle.