Social embeddedness in a harmonized Europe: the social networks of European migrants with a native partner in Belgium and the Netherland

Suzana Koelet, Christof Van Mol, Helga A. G. de Valk

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Although intra-European migration is often considered relatively easy to realize given European citizens' right to freedom of movement, settlement in another European country can still be experienced as socially disruptive. Insights in the insertion processes of European migrants, nevertheless, remain rather scarce. In this study, we analyse the social networks of European nationals with a native partner in Belgium and the Netherlands. The analysis is based on survey data from the EUMARR project (n = 576). First, we study the size and composition of European migrants' local family and friendship networks, and the frequency of contact with these networks. Second, we connect intra-EU movers' insertion routes to investments in transnational networks in their home country. The results reveal how size, composition and contact with the local and transnational network change over time. Children help to maintain contact with both the local and transnational family network and form a bridge for parents to meet own friends in the host country. Moreover, having own friends and own family around matters for contact frequency with the local networks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-459
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Networks
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Belgium
  • intra-European mobility
  • Netherlands
  • social networks
  • social embeddedness
  • transnational networks
  • union formation
  • SSCI

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