While many may hold the Dutch government responsible for the failure of coronavirus restrictions, a recent study has found that the majority of people in the Netherlands blame irresponsible countrymen for the ongoing repercussions of the pandemic.
ECFR: How COVID-19 has polarised politics in Europe
A study conducted by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), entitled Europe’s invisible divides: How COVID-19 is polarising European politics, looked into various European outlooks on the (handling of the) pandemic. ECFR found that the continent was divided between the Trustful (64 percent) – those who have faith in their local governments – the Suspicious (19 percent) – those who believe governments are attempting to cover up failings – and the Accusers (17 percent) – who believe governments are trying to increase their power.
On a continent-wide scale, the study also revealed that younger members of the population were more likely to blame their government for the ongoing impact of COVID-19, and that on the whole they felt more badly affected by the crisis.
Interestingly, however, ECFR uncovered the fact that, across Europe, perspectives are divided between those who fear the biggest threat to their freedom comes from their government, and those who fear the (irresponsible) behaviour of their fellow citizens.
Many in the Netherlands trust the Dutch government
On a national level, ECFR found that, in the Netherlands, 75 percent of the population fell into the Trustful category. Instead, Dutch citizens place the blame for the ongoing coronavirus crisis on their negligent fellow countrymen. According to the study, 63 percent say individuals are to blame for the ongoing crisis, compared to 31 percent who say the Dutch government and institutions are to blame.
Furthermore, 67 percent of people in the Netherlands feel the behaviour of their fellow countrymen pose a threat to their freedoms. Of the countries involved in the study, the Netherlands also reported one of the highest perceived impacts on freedom; while 79 percent of residents in the Netherlands felt free in 2019, this figure dropped to only 19 percent in May 2021. Austria was the only country to report a larger drop (78 percent to 15 percent).