"Only whites need apply." It's a phrase that would bring any American back to the memories of the segregated south.
Except this is a sentiment that was recently expressed in present-day Netherlands, and it was not meant to stir debate about the past. It was a job advertisement.
The owner of a Dutch cleaning company has been splashed across front pages this week after admitting on the company's Facebook account that he only wants white workers and calling other employers who think likewise, but say nothing, hypocrites.
More from The Christian Science Monitor:
Think you know Europe? Take our geography quiz.
Time to pitch in? Netherlands moves to the fore of rethinking welfare
Xenophobes unite? French, Dutch far-right weigh alliance
Wesley de Laat, owner of Budget Cleaning Brabant, has been lambasted for his "whites only" stance and his later defense. "White workers are better than non-white workers," he told the media this week. "I don't discriminate," he went on. "I just don't invite them for interview. Poles, Moroccans, any non-whites are not going to be hired to work for this company. Ahmed and Ali are probably very good people, but I don't want them working for me."
Mr. de Laat's job announcement, which has since been removed from Facebook (though it is still viewable in Google's cache), is just the latest of several episodes to have shaken the Dutch sense of tolerance and cast a critical eye on growing xenophobia across Europe.
His rant came in the same week that the government-funded Netherlands Institute for Human Rights released a report showing that inquiries about discrimination to their organization shot up by 75 percent between 2012 and 2013. Particularly worrisome was discrimination in the workplace.
The organization's Marysha Molthoff says the statistics are not a sign that discrimination is necessarily on the rise; rather, they show that the nature of discrimination is changing. "It's becoming more visible, and people are being more open about it."