76% of Dutch people trust the government: new report shows biggest attitude shift in 12.5 years

The quarterly report by the Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP) on Dutch attitudes to society, politics and the economy has been released: and coronavirus has had a massive impact on all three.

You might expect that after the chaotic, unprecedented few months we’ve had in the Netherlands, that Dutch people would be feeling a bit distrustful of the world around them. In fact, the opposite is true: as the corona crisis winds down (hopefully for good) Dutch people are feeling far more positive about society and politics than they did before.

In the past 12.5 years, there has never been such a change in public opinion, the SCP report reveals. According to the SCP, this change is very much connected with the coronavirus crisis.

Dutch people trust political institutions

First of all, how have Dutchies’ opinions changed on politics? 76% said they had confidence in the government: in comparison to January’s figure, 51%, the increase in confidence is striking. The Dutch seem to be generally content with how the crisis has been handled.

In an interview with RTL Nieuws, Paul van Lange, professor of social psychology at VU University Amsterdam, said that this trust in government came down to the transparency it had shown throughout the crisis. “During the press conferences about the coronavirus, for example, Rutte is very open and honest. He acknowledges that he does not have all the information about the coronavirus, but says he has to make a decision. Dutch people appreciate that honesty.”

However, as we have seen over the past two weeks, with protestors gathering to express their displeasure with the 1.5m society, this contentment is beginning to shift. According to Van Lange, particularly young people and entrepreneurs want more relaxations.

Fears about the economy, but the Netherlands is going in the right direction

When it comes to society, Dutch people are also more satisfied than they were before the coronavirus crisis. Dutchies now give society a rating of 6.9, rather than January’s 6.4. 69% now believe that people in general can be trusted, in contrast to last quarter’s 63%. And 47% of people now believe that the Netherlands is going in the right direction, a big increase from 36% last quarter.

However, understandably, Dutchies are not feeling so confident about the economy. A shocking 85% expect the economy to deteriorate, in contrast to 29% before the crisis started. 21% expect their own financial situation to get worse: last quarter this figure was only 14%.

In general, Dutch people see the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity, and as proof of how much society can change, the SCP reports. In the future, Dutch people want an emphasis on togetherness, a sense of community and tolerance, and for the climate crisis to be addressed.

How do you feel about society, politics and the economy in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: Chait Goli/Unsplash

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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