Just 1 percent of Dutch respondents to a recent survey believe the country is clearly heading in the right direction.
The Rabobank survey, conducted last year and published in accordance with a study on Tuesday, showed the vast majority of Dutch citizens are unhappy about the country’s trajectory.
Of the 10,000 Dutch respondents to the survey, a total of 39 percent believe the country is clearly heading in the wrong direction and 47 percent believe it to be heading more in the wrong direction than the right, making an overwhelming majority of 86 percent currently disillusioned with the country’s current path.
Some 12 percent believe the country to be heading more in the right direction than the wrong, while just 1 percent think the Netherlands is clearly heading in the right direction
The attitudes of the respondents regarding the country’s future relate somewhat to regional divides. Respondents in northeastern Drenthe, the country’s westernmost province of Zeeland, and in large parts of Friesland, Flevoland, and Limburg are more negative about the country’s prospects. Meanwhile, respondents in Amsterdam to the country’s north, and Tilburg to its south, are less negative.
City residents were generally found to be less negative about the country’s trajectory than those residing in rural areas, with residents in the country’s northeast and the west reporting the highest negative sentiment at over 91 percent.
A respondent’s socioeconomic background, however, is a more important indicator of sentiment than where they live, and a higher rate of negative sentiment can be seen, predictably, among respondents who are less prosperous.
Respondents were asked various questions relating to their physical health, income, home status, social lives, education, environment, how safe they feel, and their existing support networks to ascertain their prosperity score. Those reporting lower scores are more likely to be disillusioned with the country’s direction.
Regional factors, therefore, do not explain widespread negative sentiment alone, and the correlation between high prosperity within urban areas and a more favorable attitude toward the country’s future isn’t so simple, as prosperity scores are typically lower in cities than in urban areas. Cities where people revealed a lower sense of prosperity include Rotterdam, Arnhem and Eindhoven.
The survey warned policymakers against making assumptions that wealth differences between regions are the sole cause of negative sentiment, saying the situation is far more nuanced than traditional regional divisions. Only by addressing specific groups who are over-represented in terms of negative sentiment, such as those with fewer qualifications, home renters instead of owners, and those experiencing health difficulties, can policymakers begin to at least partly alleviate the seemingly entrenched pessimism regarding the country’s path.
Dutch conservative Geert Wilders leapt on the data on Tuesday ahead of the Dutch regional elections on Wednesday, tweeting: “Only 1 percent of the Dutch think that the Netherlands is doing well. How much clearer can it be? Rutte and Kaag have to go!”