In the migration history literature, the number of marriages between newcomers and the native population is considered to be the ultimate litmus test of the integration or assimilation of migrants. However, little attention has been paid to how the state has actively intervened to prevent such marriages. The premarital counselling for mixed marriages provided by Dutch state officials, in cooperation with churches and NGOs, represents one such intervention. It mainly targeted Dutch women marrying Muslim men, and until the 1990s it was informed by stereotypes about gender, class and race that intersected with religion. Counselling Dutch girls about Islamic family law served as a way to demonstrate how intrinsically different ‘the other’ was. Ultimately, premarital counselling was about the power of regulations of mixture in shaping identities and producing ‘race’, linking it to sex, gender and family formations.
Lucy Bland‘White women and men of colour: miscegenation fears in Britain after the Great War’Gender & History17:1 (2005) 29–61; Marlou Schrover Om de meisjes voor de meisjes Een historisch perspectief op problematisering en bagatellisering van onderwerpen die te maken hebben met migratie en integratie (Leiden 2011).
Jennifer Heuer‘The one-drop rule in reverse? Interracial marriages in Napoleonic and Restoration France’Law and History Review27:3 (2009) 515–548; Dienke Hondius Blackness in western Europe: racial patterns of paternalism and exclusion (New Brunswick 2014).
Marlou Schrover‘Problematisation and particularisation: the Bertha Hertogh story,’Tijdschrift door Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis/The Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History8:2 (2011) 3–31; Marga Altena A true history full of romance. Mixed marriages and ethnic identity in Dutch art news media and popular culture (1983–1995) (Amsterdam 2012).
KlineBuilding a better race124; Natalia Gerodetti ‘Eugenic family politics and Social Democrats: “positive” eugenics and marriage advice bureaus’ Journal of Historical Sociology 19:3 (2006) 217–244; Rebecca L. Davis More perfect unions: the American search for marital bliss (Cambridge and London 2010).
Kerreen Reiger‘The coming of the counsellors: the development of marriage guidance in Australia’Journal of Sociology23:3 (1987) 375–387; Kristin Celello Making marriage work: a history of marriage and divorce in the twentieth-century United States (Chapel Hill 2009) 3.
In the1910sthe French Ministry of Interior issued a notice discouraging French women from marrying Chinese men. Xu Guoqi Strangers on the Western Front: Chinese workers in the Great War (Cambridge 2011) 150–151.
On 1 January 12014the Dutch Bureau of Statistics recorded 169949 mixed couples of “autochtone” men and “allochtone” women and 104718 mixed couples of “autochtone” women and “allochtone” men including married and unmarried couples. “Allochtone” is a Dutch policy term referring to a person who has at least one parent born abroad.
Lucassen and Laarman‘Immigration intermarriage and the changing face of Europe’55.