Posted on October 27, 2004

Dutch People Content Now, But Gloomy About Future

Expatica, Oct. 25

AMSTERDAM — Although 80 percent of Dutch people are generally content with their lives, they are worried about crime and immigration and think society is going to continue to harden over the next 15 years, a report revealed on Monday.

The Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) report also said that 30 percent of Dutch nationals are exceptionally happy with their own life, but pinpointed several areas of general concern, news agency ANP reported.

Focusing on the expectations Dutch citizens have up until 2020, the report said Dutch society was rated an above average seven in 1999, but that figure has now fallen to five. The SCP said the Dutch population is concerned about criminality, norms and values, social security, safety and foreigners.

The 602-page report “The Netherlands Changes” said Dutch people expect society to harden and be increasingly performance-focused. Society will also offer reduced social security and fewer guarantees for the availability of healthcare. The population also fears criminality and ethnic tensions.

Some 75 percent of the native Dutch fear that immigration will make social security unaffordable. Three quarters also fear Muslim fundamentalism.

To combat terrorism and criminality, Dutch people are prepared to make concessions in the sphere of privacy. Some 85 percent are in favour of camera surveillance and greater use of DNA identification.

Fewer and fewer people are members of a political party and the political behaviour of Dutch people will become unpredictable, the SCP said. This will be a breeding ground for political unrest.

Three quarters of Dutch people want to work less and while they are confident about medical developments, they are concerned that healthcare waiting lists will increase, Dutch public news service NOS reported.

But Dutch wishes are opposite to expectations, with the population choosing for a society with a lot of community spirit and many of the characteristics that are presently at risk. “Hard from outside, soft from inside,” the SCP noted.

Some 50 percent of Dutch people believe the armed forces will disappear in the next century, while 25 percent believe the royal house will disappear, as will the feeling of being Dutch.

But the population is not overly concerned for the loss of feeling Dutch, because many traditions will remain. These include the Dutch language and typical Dutch treats such as the kroket, liquorice, herring and oliebollen (doughnut balls).