Anger as new migrants sent to tiny Dutch village

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Anger as new migrants sent to tiny Dutch village
View of the Oranje canal in the village of Oranje, Netherlands, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, whose local population of 130 is overwhelmingly outnumbered by hundreds of asylum seekers being housed at a vacation park. In this tiny Dutch village, Jan Voortmanâs garden center has added some new products to its lineup of plants, seeds and wooden clogs: falafel, couscous and water pipes. The enterprising store owner is capitalizing on the newest residents of rural Oranje, until recently population 130: Hundreds of asylum seekers from as far away as Syria, Sudan and Eritrea who are being housed in a disused vacation camp. But the resolutely cheerful Voortman sees his fellow townspeople adopting a starkly different attitude. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Migrant children walk towards their school in the village of Oranje, Netherlands, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015,whose local population of 130 is overwhelmingly outnumbered by hundreds of migrants. In this tiny Dutch village, Jan Voortmanâs garden center has added some new products to its lineup of plants, seeds and wooden clogs: falafel, couscous and water pipes. The enterprising store owner is capitalizing on the newest residents of rural Oranje, until recently population 130: Hundreds of asylum seekers from as far away as Syria, Sudan and Eritrea who are being housed in a disused vacation camp. But the resolutely cheerful Voortman sees his fellow townspeople adopting a starkly different attitude. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Wellwishers welcome the first group of 300 asylum seekers arriving in busses in a camp set for for thousands of migrants in the village pavilion Heumensoord in Nijmegen, on October 2, 2015. The campsite is a temporary solution : by next June it will have to be evacuated to make place for the annual marches and for use in a paralympic event. AFP PHOTO/ANP VALERIE KUYPERS netherlands out (Photo credit should read VALERIE KUYPERS/AFP/Getty Images)
A smal group ofasylum seekers leave a camp set for for thousands of migrants because they were not satisfied with the facilities, on October 2, 2015 in the village pavilion Heumensoord in Nijmegen. Dutch authorities said the asylum-seeker's housing is 'simple and humane' with beds, showers, portable toilets, electricity and Internet connectivity.The campsite is a temporary solution : by next June it will have to be evacuated to make place for the annual marches and for use in a paralympic event. AFP PHOTO/ANP VALERIE KUYPERS (Photo credit should read VALERIE KUYPERS/AFP/Getty Images)
A blacked out sign indicating the village limits of Oranje reads Syria, Netherlands, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. The local population of 130 of Oranje is overwhelmingly outnumbered by hundreds of migrants. In this tiny Dutch village, Jan Voortmanâs garden center has added some new products to its lineup of plants, seeds and wooden clogs: falafel, couscous and water pipes. The enterprising store owner is capitalizing on the newest residents of rural Oranje, until recently population 130: Hundreds of asylum seekers from as far away as Syria, Sudan and Eritrea who are being housed in a disused vacation camp. But the resolutely cheerful Voortman sees his fellow townspeople adopting a starkly different attitude. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Migrant's children walk towards their school in the village of Oranje, Netherlands, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, whose local population of 130 is overwhelmingly outnumbered by hundreds of migrants. In this tiny Dutch village, Jan Voortmanâs garden center has added some new products to its lineup of plants, seeds and wooden clogs: falafel, couscous and water pipes. The enterprising store owner is capitalizing on the newest residents of rural Oranje, until recently population 130: Hundreds of asylum seekers from as far away as Syria, Sudan and Eritrea who are being housed in a disused vacation camp. But the resolutely cheerful Voortman sees his fellow townspeople adopting a starkly different attitude. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
A worker in a garden center passes, rear, while a sign in arabic in the bar area is seen in the village of Oranje, Netherlands, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015,whose local population of 130 is overwhelmingly outnumbered by hundreds of migrants. In this tiny Dutch village, Jan Voortmanâs garden center has added some new products to its lineup of plants, seeds and wooden clogs: falafel, couscous and water pipes. The enterprising store owner is capitalizing on the newest residents of rural Oranje, until recently population 130: Hundreds of asylum seekers from as far away as Syria, Sudan and Eritrea who are being housed in a disused vacation camp. But the resolutely cheerful Voortman sees his fellow townspeople adopting a starkly different attitude. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Jan Voortman passes a sign reading House of Hope in english and arabic as he finishes cleaning up the bar area in his garden center in the village of Oranje, Netherlands, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, whose local population of 130 is overwhelmingly outnumbered by hundreds of migrants. In this tiny Dutch village, Jan Voortmanâs garden center has added some new products to its lineup of plants, seeds and wooden clogs: falafel, couscous and water pipes. The enterprising store owner is capitalizing on the newest residents of rural Oranje, until recently population 130: Hundreds of asylum seekers from as far away as Syria, Sudan and Eritrea who are being housed in a disused vacation camp. But the resolutely cheerful Voortman sees his fellow townspeople adopting a starkly different attitude. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Exterior of one of the buildings of the vacation park which houses asylum seekers in the village of Oranje, Netherlands, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, whose local population of 130 is overwhelmingly outnumbered by hundreds of migrants. In this tiny Dutch village, Jan Voortmanâs garden center has added some new products to its lineup of plants, seeds and wooden clogs: falafel, couscous and water pipes. The enterprising store owner is capitalizing on the newest residents of rural Oranje, until recently population 130: Hundreds of asylum seekers from as far away as Syria, Sudan and Eritrea who are being housed in a disused vacation camp. But the resolutely cheerful Voortman sees his fellow townspeople adopting a starkly different attitude. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Migrants leave the Oranje vacation park in the village of Oranje, Netherlands, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015,whose local population of 130 is overwhelmingly outnumbered by hundreds of migrants. In this tiny Dutch village, Jan Voortmanâs garden center has added some new products to its lineup of plants, seeds and wooden clogs: falafel, couscous and water pipes. The enterprising store owner is capitalizing on the newest residents of rural Oranje, until recently population 130: Hundreds of asylum seekers from as far away as Syria, Sudan and Eritrea who are being housed in a disused vacation camp. But the resolutely cheerful Voortman sees his fellow townspeople adopting a starkly different attitude. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Wellwishers welcome the first group of 300 asylum seekers arriving in busses in a camp set for for thousands of migrants in the village pavilion Heumensoord in Nijmegen, on October 2, 2015. The campsite is a temporary solution : by next June it will have to be evacuated to make place for the annual marches and for use in a paralympic event. AFP PHOTO/ANP VALERIE KUYPERS netherlands out (Photo credit should read VALERIE KUYPERS/AFP/Getty Images)
Asylum seekers sit on a bench near the former recreation park, which serves as a reception center, in the village of Orange, The Netherlands, on October 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ANP / OLAF KRAAK +++ NETHERLANDS OUT (Photo credit should read OLAF KRAAK/AFP/Getty Images)
A smal group ofasylum seekers leave a camp set for for thousands of migrants because they were not satisfied with the facilities, on October 2, 2015 in the village pavilion Heumensoord in Nijmegen. Dutch authorities said the asylum-seeker's housing is 'simple and humane' with beds, showers, portable toilets, electricity and Internet connectivity.The campsite is a temporary solution : by next June it will have to be evacuated to make place for the annual marches and for use in a paralympic event. AFP PHOTO/ANP VALERIE KUYPERS (Photo credit should read VALERIE KUYPERS/AFP/Getty Images)
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ORANJE, Netherlands (AP) — In this tiny Dutch village, Jan Voortman's garden center has added some new products to its lineup of plants, seeds and wooden clogs: falafel, couscous and water pipes.

The enterprising store owner is capitalizing on the newest residents of rural Oranje, until recently population 130: Hundreds of asylum seekers from as far away as Syria, Sudan and Eritrea who are being housed in a disused vacation camp. But the resolutely cheerful Voortman sees his fellow townspeople adopting a starkly different attitude.

Villagers who a year ago grudgingly accepted the arrival of 700 migrants reacted furiously last week when the government announced it was sending up to 700 more, turning Oranje into the latest flashpoint in an increasingly polarized debate about how this densely populated nation of 17 million can accommodate thousands of migrants pouring into the country.

SEE ALSO: Young and alone: Europe sees record surge of child refugees

Similar frictions are emerging elsewhere in Europe as the continent struggles to absorb hundreds of thousands of people. Villagers and townsfolk in some parts of Germany also have protested against the arrival of asylum seeker centers, though many others in the country also do plenty to help migrants.

In the end, 103 new migrants were bused into Oranje, bringing the total to 803. The agency responsible for housing asylum seekers called the decision to send more people to Oranje "difficult but unavoidable" given the lack of suitable housing elsewhere.

Oranje was chosen because of its 1,400-bed vacation village, but villagers saw the decision as a betrayal by the central government based more than 200 kilometers (125 miles) away in The Hague, which after sending 700 people last year had pledged not to send any more.

"It was going well. Everybody was satisfied," Voortman said. When junior Justice Minister Klaas Dijkhoff broke the news to villagers on Tuesday that hundreds more could be on their way, he said, "everybody flipped."

One woman stood in front of Dijkhoff's car as he tried to leave the meeting. When she was pulled, screaming, to the side of the road, she fell and injured her arm. A man kicked the car as it drove away.

"I've had better evenings," Dijkhoff told reporters at the Dutch Parliament the following day. "But I understand that people were shocked."

Two days after the confrontation, the only trace of anger left in the cluster of houses lining the banks of the local canal was the village sign: The name Oranje had been covered in black spray paint and "Syria" scrawled underneath. It was not clear when the sign was defaced.

Many Dutch people are welcoming migrants with open arms, but plenty of others are opposing moves to set up centers for asylum seekers in their towns and villages.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte has faced criticism for his handling of the crisis, while anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders has seen his Freedom Party rise in recent polls as he campaigns against new migrant centers. He argues that the Netherlands should simply close its borders.

Related: A new life for Syrian migrants in France:

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A new life for Syrian migrants in France
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Anger as new migrants sent to tiny Dutch village
In this Thursday Sept.24, 2015 photo, Syrian refugees Amena Abomosa, 43, right, and her daughter Isra, 18, wait, prior to boarding a train to Vannes, western France, in the Montparnasse railway station, in Paris. Her slain husband, bombed-out Damascus home and refugee life are behind her. The recipient of a coveted asylum-seeker visa, Syrian teacher Amena Abomosa is settling into a new life in France with her family. But now what? They are among the few amid a sea of desperate Syrians to arrive in Europe with prior approval to seek haven. British Prime Minister David Cameron and other European leaders would prefer for all refugees to come this way â applying at European embassies abroad, undergoing careful screening and entering the EU legally. Everyone else, they argue, should stay away, instead of risking perilous journeys. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
In this Thursday Sept. 24, 2015 photo, Syrian refugees Amena Abomosa, 43, right, her children Isra, 18, left, and Muhammad, 12, wait prior to boarding a train to Vannes, western France, in the Montparnasse railway station, in Paris. Her slain husband, bombed-out Damascus home and refugee life are behind her. The recipient of a coveted asylum-seeker visa, Syrian teacher Amena Abomosa is settling into a new life in France with her family. But now what? They are among the few amid a sea of desperate Syrians to arrive in Europe with prior approval to seek haven. British Prime Minister David Cameron and other European leaders would prefer for all refugees to come this way â applying at European embassies abroad, undergoing careful screening and entering the EU legally. Everyone else, they argue, should stay away, instead of risking perilous journeys. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
In this Thursday Sept. 24, 2015 photo, Syrian refugees Amena Abomosa, 43, center, her mother, Hanaa, 62, and her daughter, Isra, 18, left, carry luggage as they head to board a train to Vannes, western France, in the Montparnasse railway station, in Paris, France. Amena Abomosa and her family are among the fortunate ones in a sea of desperate Syrian refugees seeking haven in Europe. The French government gave them a special asylum-seeker visa, and aid groups and social workers are helping them settle into a new life in Brittany. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
In this Thursday Sept.24, 2015 photo, Syrian refugee Amena Abomosa, 43, talks on a phone, prior to boarding a train to Vannes, western France, in the Montparnasse railway station, in Paris, France, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. Her slain husband, bombed-out Damascus home and refugee life are behind her. The recipient of a coveted asylum-seeker visa, Syrian teacher Amena Abomosa is settling into a new life in France with her family. But now what? They are among the few amid a sea of desperate Syrians to arrive in Europe with prior approval to seek haven. British Prime Minister David Cameron and other European leaders would prefer for all refugees to come this way â applying at European embassies abroad, undergoing careful screening and entering the EU legally. Everyone else, they argue, should stay away, instead of risking perilous journeys. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
In this Thursday Sept. 24, 2015 photo, Syrian refugees Reemaz Abomosa, 17, and her brother Muhammad, 12, sit on a train going to Vannes, western France, in the Montparnasse railway station, in Paris, France. Her slain husband, bombed-out Damascus home and refugee life are behind her. The recipient of a coveted asylum-seeker visa, Syrian teacher Amena Abomosa is settling into a new life in France with her family. But now what? They are among the few amid a sea of desperate Syrians to arrive in Europe with prior approval to seek haven. British Prime Minister David Cameron and other European leaders would prefer for all refugees to come this way â applying at European embassies abroad, undergoing careful screening and entering the EU legally. Everyone else, they argue, should stay away, instead of risking perilous journeys. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
In this Thursday Sept. 24, 2015 photo, Syrian refugees Amena Abomosa, 43, left, her children Isra, 18, and Muhammad, 12, sit on a train going to Vannes, western France, in the Montparnasse railway station, in Paris, France. Her slain husband, bombed-out Damascus home and refugee life are behind her. The recipient of a coveted asylum-seeker visa, Syrian teacher Amena Abomosa is settling into a new life in France with her family. But now what? They are among the few amid a sea of desperate Syrians to arrive in Europe with prior approval to seek haven. British Prime Minister David Cameron and other European leaders would prefer for all refugees to come this way â applying at European embassies abroad, undergoing careful screening and entering the EU legally. Everyone else, they argue, should stay away, instead of risking perilous journeys. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
In this Thursday Sept. 24, 2015 photo, Syrian refugees Isra Abomosa, 18, center, and Muhammad, 12, left, carry luggage before boarding a train to Vannes, western France, at the Montparnasse railway station, in Paris, France .Her slain husband, bombed-out Damascus home and refugee life are behind her. The recipient of a coveted asylum-seeker visa, Syrian teacher Amena Abomosa is settling into a new life in France with her family. But now what? They are among the few amid a sea of desperate Syrians to arrive in Europe with prior approval to seek haven. British Prime Minister David Cameron and other European leaders would prefer for all refugees to come this way â applying at European embassies abroad, undergoing careful screening and entering the EU legally. Everyone else, they argue, should stay away, instead of risking perilous journeys. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
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But the asylum seekers keep coming. Some 3,000 arrived last week alone; the previous week saw 2,400 and the week before that 4,200.

That has left authorities scrambling for places to put them all. Vacation parks and sports halls are being pressed into service as emergency accommodation centers and local municipalities are being asked to look for other suitable locations.

So far, according to locals, problems caused by the massive influx in Oranje are confined to asylum seekers riding bicycles on the wrong side of the road or walking in the middle of streets at night, posing a risk to themselves and local motorists. But Mayor Ton Baas acknowledged that their arrival has radically changed the sleepy rural village.

"The people, refugees, come from another culture. They walk on the street more, they are outside. They have nothing to do. There's nothing to do," he said. "So they are on the street and that gives (the village) a totally different appearance."

One of this week's arrivals was Mohamad Ziad, a 28-year-old from Homs in Syria, who crossed Europe in a people-smuggler's truck after making the risky boat journey from Turkey to the Greek island of Rhodes.

As he shopped in Voortman's store, Ziad had kind words for the village of Oranje.

"I really like it. You know, we are having our own room — especially your own bathroom — not sharing with each other," he said. "It's quiet and people like each other because, you know, we are all in the same situation."

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