European values: where do the Dutch stand?

European values: where do the Dutch stand?

2nd January 2012, Comments 11 comments

The Netherlands has become more traditional and conservative over the past ten years, according to a long-term study of European values.

The study also gives short shrift to the generally accepted notion that the Dutch are indifferent towards social values. In fact, by comparison with many other European countries they're socially involved and don't put themselves first.

Sociologists Loek Halman and Inge Sieben of the University of Tilburg have written the book "Respect man - tolerance, solidarity and other social values". The book was presented to Ben Knapen, the Minister for Development Cooperation, on 25 November 2011. Its findings are based on data from The Atlas of European Values, a report released every nine years since 1981.

Conservative and traditional
The Netherlands is one of the most prosperous countries in Europe, where individual freedom and personal development are rampant. Government interference in these areas is received with a large amount of mistrust. The Netherlands is in line with the rest of North-western Europe, but differs in the sense that the Dutch are becoming more conservative and more traditional. The researchers conclude that the country is "marking time".

The Dutch are steadily becoming less proud of their country, but they're certainly not strongly European. Politics plays a significant role, yet the average Dutchman is much less politically active than the population in neighbouring countries.

No threat
The Dutch turn out to be leaders in Europe in terms of social commitment and solidarity with the needy. But here a sharp line is drawn: pensioners and the sick can count on support, but job seekers and immigrants in particular miss out. "The person seeking help is only welcome if he/she does not threaten our jobs and if he/she adapts to our norms and values," say the researchers.

Education
Although Dutch education is known as being very free, Dutch parents often appear to stick to traditional values. Thus good manners, obedience, thrift and respect for others are regarded as important qualities to pass on to the next generation.

Independence and accountability play a lesser role. According to the researchers, this shows that the Dutch believe the individualization of society has gone too far. This is evidenced by the fact that the Dutch certainly don't believe people should only be concerned with their own affairs.

As for the Dutch youth, they're not egoistic self-kickers, but more socially involved and more likely to donate to charity than in the past. They do more volunteer work and are more politically active than in previous years.

Apparently the Netherlands is re-inventing itself as a country that no longer embraces individualism, and where people aren't waiting for major changes and developments. Traditional and conservative: who can still remember that these used to be "dirty words" in the Netherlands?

 

By Uhro van der Pluijm

Radio Netherlands


 

 

3 Comments To This Article

  • Traditional values? posted:

    on 4th January 2012, 11:32:20 - Reply

    ", Dutch parents often appear to stick to traditional values. Thus good manners, obedience, thrift and respect for others are regarded as important qualities to pass on to the next generation."

    Disagree with that statement - Dutch children have no respect for anyone or anything. They seem to grow up with this attitude that they can do what they want whenever they want to - and parents seem to be o.k with this. Old traditional values, the parents don't even now what that is!!!
  • Writing with Rose Colored Glasses on. posted:

    on 4th January 2012, 11:17:04 - Reply

    Rich Country??? Kids that are socially involved?? This article is WAY unrepresentative of Holland! I feel this article fails to tell the truth about this country and whoever writes these articles are high on crack or living in a hole in the wall. This is a country of racism and the stinginess is abound. The kids I have met for the most part are not disciplined and they behave as obnoxious and self entitled as their parents here in Holland. I don't agree with any of this info!
  • Leo Salazar posted:

    on 4th January 2012, 11:06:46 - Reply

    "The person seeking help is only welcome if he/she does not threaten our jobs and if he/she adapts to our norms and values."

    Well, this explains a lot. In other words "adding value to society" is only defined in very strict terms, by the narrowest and most conforming of definitions.

    I find this unfortunate. And not per se for those who fall outside of the norm/value boat, but for the Dutch themselves. There's enormous richness, value and, yes, profit in diversity. But it's up to the Dutch to realize this, to accept differences and to adapt if they want to benefit from the diverseness within their borders.

    From the looks of the results of this report, that's not going to happen anytime soon.

    Leo Salazar
    http://srLeoSalazar.wordpress.com