Beyond l’auberge Espagnole: The effect of individual mobility on the formation of intra-European couples

Julia Schroedter, Tom De Winter, Suzana Koelet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper focuses on intra-European partnership formation in three European countries: Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Intra‐European mobility has been actively promoted and stimulated by the European Commission (e.g., free movement of persons, the Erasmus student exchange program). One of the reasons for this promotion is that exchanges and relationships between Europeans of different descent are seen as a core indicator of the success of the European project. In this paper, we address the question to what extent intra-European mobility fosters partnerships between Europeans of different descent. Intra-European mobility can create opportunities both to meet partners from other European countries and to accumulate the necessary capital (economic, cultural, linguistic, mobility) to engage in a relationship with a foreign European. We use original data on European (binational) couples, collected in 2012 in the three countries (EUMARR survey), to study the choice of native men and women to engage in a relationship with either a foreign-born European partner or a partner from the own native country. We apply a broader life course perspective that captures migration and mobility experiences prior to the relationship as causal antecedents leading to an intra-European partnership. Results based on logistic regression models suggest that there is an individual effect of long stays abroad and short mobility experiences in (early) adulthood on having an intra-European partner (in comparison with a native partner).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-206
Number of pages26
JournalEuropean Journal of Population
Issue number2
Early online date31 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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