Half the Dutch do voluntary work, new report on social cohesion shows

Oranje supporters orange hockeyAlmost half the population of the Netherlands does some form of voluntary work at least once a year and 30% do it on a monthly basis, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday.

The new report Social cohesion: what binds and divides us looks at trends in Dutch society in terms of participation and trust in the period 2012 to 2014.

The report shows that many people are actively involved in society and have trust in it, the CBS said. Voluntary work is an important part of that involvement, the CBS said. Not only do people have trust in each other, but to a large extent in the legal system, police and army.

The report shows that three in 10 people have daily contact with friends and family but only 16% speak to their neighbours on a daily basis.

People with a non-western immigrant background are more likely to have daily contact with friends and family than the native Dutch, but this can largely be explained by the age demographic, the CBS said.

No change

The report concludes that despite the economic crisis and political shifts since the previous report was carried out in 2010 ‘participation and trust have hardly changed, and in the longer term, have improved’.

Nevertheless, religion, country of origin and education level remain divisive, the report states. In general, the lower someone’s level of education, ‘the less likely they are to join in, to mistrust other people and be wary of social and political institutions’.

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