Dutch remain happy with life, more positive about Muslims

fish stall in volendamThe Dutch are positive about their own personal situations but worried about the prospects for the next generation, according to a major new report on society in the Netherlands.

On average, people give their own lives a score of 7.8 out of 10, in line with the results two years ago. The survey, by the government’s social policy think-tank SCP, was carried out in February before the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and the rise in refugee numbers.

The survey is carried out every two years. ‘The Dutch are relatively positive about the way society is, notably positive about national politics and more than averagely pro-Europe,’ the report states.

‘However, the rise in concern about the future is notable. People expect the next generation will find the going tougher.’




In particular, crime is considered less of an issue and ideas about Muslims have also improved ‘strongly’, the survey shows. In 2004, just one-third of those questioned said most Muslims respected others, but this has now risen steadily to 55%.

In 2004, 47% of people thought there were too many immigrants in the Netherlands, but that has now dropped to 36% – albeit a four percentage point rise on the last survey in 2013.

Boorish behaviour

However, there has been an increase in the number of people who are embarrassed about the behaviour of their fellow Dutch nationals. Two years ago, 31% were left red-faced about bad manners and loutish attitudes but that has now risen to 36%.

‘We are all proud of our tradition of freedom of speech, but we are embarrassed about the loutishness it can generate,’ said SCP deputy director Robert Bijl.

Almost six in 10 are also concerned about the lack of ‘norms and values’ in present day society, the survey showed.