Netherlands Info Services BV (’s-Hertogenbosch), March 27, 2008
The majority of the Dutch are negative on Islam and immigration. Additionally, their knowledge of Dutch history is meagre, according to a survey by three history professors.
According to 56 percent of the Dutch, Islam is a threat to the Dutch identity. As well, 57 percent named admitting large groups of immigrants as “the biggest mistake in Dutch history”.
The results come from the History Monitor. This survey was carried out among a representative group of 1,069 people by De Volkskrant newspaper, Historisch Nieuwsblad history journal and TV programme Andere Tijden in consultation with history professors James Kennedy, Niek van Sas and Hans Blom.
The History Monitor presented 20 multiple-choice questions on Dutch history and identity. Only for six questions did over 60 percent know the right answer. The worst answered was the question ‘Since which century has the Netherlands been a kingdom’; only 17 percent knew the Netherlands was a republic before the 19th century.
Also remarkable is the self-criticism on the Netherlands’ slavery past. Only 21 percent correctly gave the Netherlands a 5 percent share in the world slave trade; the rest estimated a higher share. The researchers attribute the overestimating to a feeling of shame, born of structural and years-long media attention for the dark sides of the dominant role the Netherlands played in the world in the 17th century.
All in all, the average Dutch respondent scored 5.2 for national historical knowledge. Immigrants scored 4.9 percent on average. The over 65s averaged 6.0; conversely, the 16-34 age group averaged just 4.4.