In a world that feels increasingly unpredictable and uncertain, how are Dutch people responding?

Our recent project The Next Normal: Rise of Resilience spanned 28,600 people aged 6 to 54 across 30 countries, including The Netherlands. Here are key findings from an analysis of Dutch data:

Dutch people are content and less anxious. In The Netherlands, 81% reported that they are happy – above the global average of 76%. They’re also less stressed today than people globally (25% Netherlands, 32% globally), as well as compared with 5 years ago (30% Netherlands, 31% globally).

They worry as much as everyone else about war and terrorism. The Dutch are most pessimistic about global concerns like wars around the world (78% Netherlands, 75% globally) and terrorism (73% Netherlands and globally).

But they’re less pessimistic about economic issues and crime. Economic issues and crime/violence are key concerns globally, and in 2012 the economy was top-of-mind but notably less so in The Netherlands in 2017.  Compared with global averages, Dutch people are less likely to be worried about the economy (50% difference), what things cost (43% difference), job security (32% difference), and income inequality (27% difference). Crime and violence, which was the least of their concerns, was 46% below the global average.

They trust the police more than the government. In spite of their relative confidence in the economy, only 4% in The Netherlands trust the government (2% globally). But aligning with their lower anxiety about crime, they are more likely than people elsewhere to trust the police (26% Netherlands, 16% globally).

Above all, they trust those who are closest to them. The Dutch have confidence in their families, friends, themselves, and interestingly their medical professionals more than people globally. As with elsewhere, Mom is the person they trust most (74% Netherlands, 71% globally). After that, it’s their fathers (61% Netherlands, 56% globally), best friends (61% Netherlands, 51% globally), themselves/their own judgment (54% Netherlands, 45% globally), siblings (35% Netherlands, 31% globally), and doctors (34% Netherlands, 20% globally).

Empowerment comes with age in The Netherlands. Globally, 75% of all respondents reported feeling empowered, with little variation by age. In The Netherlands, this sentiment increases with age – 62% for people 12 to 24, 72% for people 25 to 34, 77% for people 35 to 44, and 79% for people 45 to 54. This fits with a general tendency among Dutch parents to let their kids be kids and not confront them with the world’s hardships too quickly.