Intergenerational contact in European transnational families: The case of Belgium

T. de Winter, H.A.G. de Valk

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


European migrants are confronted to maintain relations with their families across borders and to meet the expectations of intergenerational care. This can be a challenge due to the geographical distance to their families as has been documented for non-western migrants across Europe. In this paper, we focus on European citizens living in Belgium. The focus on European migrants is especially interesting given the large and increasing share of them in European migrant populations, and the specific policy context of the European Union. We make use of the Belgian Generations and Gender Survey to examine the contact frequencies with the biological mother of different groups of first generation European migrants in Belgium and compare these to Belgian natives and non-European migrants. Additionally, we study face-to-face and telephone contact in a similar comparative way. Results indicate two important factors influencing contact frequency. First of all, geographical proximity is of importance for maintaining contact and especially for European migrants it determines the face-to-face contact frequency with their mothers in another European country. Secondly, the European mobility policy, characterized by the free movement of persons, strongly influences the differences in contact between EU and non-EU migrants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-92
JournalJournal of Comparative Family Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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