Vast majority of Netherlands residents somber about future of the country

Almost 90 percent of Netherlands residents think the country is not going in the right direction. The sentiment is most negative in Zeeland, Zuid-Limburg, Drrenthe, and parts of Friesland, Groningen, Flevoland, and Zuidoost-Brabant, Financieele Dagblad reports based on a survey by Rabobank.

The bank surveyed over 10,000 Netherlands residents in the spring of 2022 on whether they thought the country was generally moving in the right or wrong direction. The picture that emerged was negative, Rabobank said.

Some 39 percent said the Netherlands’ direction is clearly wrong. Another 47 percent said the country was moving slightly more in the wrong direction than the right direction. Only 1 percent said the Netherlands was obviously moving in the right direction.

There is a link between perceived prosperity and sentiment, Rabobank said. Those who are less well off in the sense of broad prosperity are more inclined to evaluate the country’s direction as wrong. Those factors come together in the regions on the edges of the country, where broad prosperity is low, and there is a strong negative sentiment.

People in the countryside clearly experience more broad-based prosperity than in the cities. City residents struggle more with the environment, safety, and social involvement. Despite this, the sentiment in urban areas tends to be more positive than in the countryside. Amsterdam and Tilburg scored relatively positively.

People’s socio-economic background also plays a significant role in how they evaluate the Netherlands. People with a low education level or health problems are not only less prosperous but more pessimistic about the future of the Netherlands.

According to Rabobank, the government should focus its welfare policy less on traditional regional divisions and more on specific groups that lag behind in broad welfare. “Such policies may have a regional component when groups are over-represented in certain areas, but run the risk of missing the mark if they only assume that wealth disparities mainly occur between regions,” the bank said.

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