The Dutch are happy again

13th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

13 September 2007, AMSTERDAM – The feelings have angst in society have ebbed away, the Volkskrant reports. The economic and political malaise that dominated in 2005 has not persisted. The Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) concluded this in its trend report this week.

13 September 2007

AMSTERDAM – The feelings have angst in society have ebbed away, the Volkskrant reports. The economic and political malaise that dominated in 2005 has not persisted. The Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) concluded this in its trend report this week.

The Netherlands has emerged from the pessimism of the Fortuyn era much more quickly than expected.

This is the remarkable conclusion of the SCP's report, published every two years, entitled The social state of the Netherlands. The report gauges the social well-being of the Netherlands.

In 2005 the SCP concluded that society was becoming more pessimistic. A doomsday scenario was sketched at the time, since international terrorist attacks, a struggling economy and the murders of Fortuyn and Van Gogh seemed to have led to a break in the historical trend. But ultimately the political and economic malaise did not continue. "We got it wrong. Or to put it better, the figures got it wrong," says adjunct director of the SCP Rob Bijl.

"Two years ago there was a great deal of uncertainty. Tanks were driving on the motorways. But nothing very terrible happened in 2006 and 2007. The Netherlands is 'back home.' The feeling of angst has ebbed away."

Not only is the economic climate more favourable, but the 'opinion climate' has improved strongly. Citizens are more optimistic and feel better in almost all regards. They are satisfied with their living situation. The feeling of unsafeness has diminished strongly. Even confidence in the national government has risen strongly in two years' time: from 42 to 67 percent.

The percentage of the Dutch that feel that too many foreigners are living in the country has also fallen spectacularly: from 51 percent in 2000 to 41 percent in 2006.

Only 12 percent of the Dutch complain about a poor living situation, compared to 17 percent in 1997. This percentage has decreased especially among the elderly. Among those 75 and over for instance the number of people who say they have a poor living situation decreased from 77 percent in 1997 to 48 percent last year.

The large majority of the Dutch are satisfied with their situation. More than 82 percent of the Dutch say they are 'happy' or even 'very happy.'

The Dutch give society as a whole a report mark of 6.5 out of 10 – certainly a passing mark and a strong improvement since 2005. They even give their own well-being a mark of 7.7 out of 10 – the highest ever since the SCP started its report. "Traditionally the Dutch are much more positive about themselves and their own family than about the big bad world outside," Bijl says.

Still the SCP warns against painting too rosy a picture. Though the repressed dissatisfaction of a few years back may have dissipated more quickly than expected, it has not disappeared entirely. There is a structural minority that continues to struggle with the authority of the government, the deterioration of the welfare state and the multicultural character of the country.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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