While the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh have had a lasting effect on Dutch society, over 80% of the Dutch now say they are happy or very happy, according to a report by the government’s social policy unit SCP.
‘The Dutch are feeling good about themselves but that does not mean we can call the country a paradise,’ said the SCP’s Robert Bijl in today’s Volkskrant. ‘Things are better than they were a few years ago but are not back at the level of the late 1990s.’
For example, said Bijl, ethnic segregation and attitudes towards foreigners were open to improvement. The number of people who think there are too many foreigners in the country shrank from 51% in 2000 to 41% last year but is still high.
‘The Dutch may say they do not mind living next to a foreigner but in practise they have a lot more trouble with the multicultural society,’ Bijl said.
Discrimination is increasing and the growth in support for both the anti-immigration PVV and the Socialist Party shows how polarised some sections of society are, Bijl said.
The report said too that 64% of the population now think that crime is increasing compared to a record high of 86% in 1995.
Some 84% of the population as a whole, and 95% of those aged between 16 and 25, think they have a healthy or very healthy lifestyle, according to the report.
And some 67% are pleased with the government, an increase of almost 20 percentage points on 2004.
The report, published every two years, aims to build up a picture of Dutch society, from trends in education and employment to the political climate.
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