Many Netherlands residents somber about the direction of the country: SCP

AMSTERDAM - Over three in five Netherlands residents think the country is going in the wrong direction. The Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP) called it “a high level of discomfort” in a report presented on Wednesday. The dissatisfaction “could have adverse consequences for society and our democracy,” the advisory body warned. 


One in five Netherlands residents believes the country is moving in the right direction. That percentage deteriorated quickly. In 2020, about 45 percent were optimistic, and 40 percent were pessimistic. 


According to the researchers, the unease is greatest among people who describe themselves as “economically left-wing and culturally conservative.” People who are liberal and pro-European see a bright future. 


The SCP advised the government to do something about the problems that make people gloomy. That is more important than playing in on “the feeling of unease.” In addition, it can help if the government looks at more things than just work or income. For example, also look at combating loneliness or making people more digitally skilled. According to the SCP, assuming people can fend for themselves is not a solution. “That will only increase inequalities.” 


According to the report, people can be negative for opposite reasons. Some people think the government is doing too little to combat climate change, while others believe the measures go too far. According to the SCP, it helps to give people more say, for example, through consultations and referenda. 


The SCP noted that unease is most significant in the rural municipalities outside the Randstad conurbation. The inhabitants there think that politicians ignore the region. The researchers, therefore, advised politicians to place more people from the regions in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament.