To reflect the Dutch context of SDG 16 better, we have divided it into two. The second component of SDG 16 relates to institutions such as the House of Representatives, the police, the judicial system and government in general. An open and democratic society makes institutions accountable, ensures that information is accessible to everyone and protects fundamental freedoms. Citizens will then place more trust in their government and be more willing to engage, become involved in their communities and participate more widely in society.
Summary of results
- A number of new trust indicators have been added to this dashboard to provide more detail about Dutch institutions: trust in the press, the police, judges, the House of Representatives, municipal councils, civil servants and lastly trust in the EU.
- Downward trends for three of the twelve indicators point to declining well-being (government expenditure on general public services as a percentage of GDP, share of employees covered by a collective agreement, and perception of corruption in the Netherlands).
- Corruption Perception Index scores range from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The index score for the Netherlands shows a downward (red) trend, but the Netherlands is still viewed as one of the countries with the least corruption in the EU.
- Rising trends for three trust indicators point towards increasing well-being: trust in the press, in the EU and in judges.
- Medium-term trends (calculated from data available for the period 2015-2022) for trust in the House of Representatives and trust in civil servants have turned from rising to neutral.
- The Netherlands is in the top group of the EU rankings for seven indicators, and in the bottom group for only one (government expenditure on general public services as a percentage of GDP).
Dashboard and indicators
In addition to security and peace (see dashboard SDG 16.1), SDG 16 also covers the institutions that enable and enforce this. Institutions must be accountable and transparent at every level, and demonstrate inclusive and representative decision-making processes. Public access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms are also important goals within SDG 16. Efficient, accountable and transparent institutions are essential to create and maintain a sense of well-being in a society, and the quality of such institutions affects government policy coherence and effectiveness. Accountability is also prerequisite for a society to function openly and democratically: if citizens trust authorities, they are more likely to engage with others, become involved in their communities and participate actively in society.
To reflect the Dutch policy context, we have added a relatively large number of extra indicators to this second SDG 16 dashboard. The medium-term trends (calculated from data available for the period 2015-2022) in the dashboard present a mixed picture, with three red and three green trends. Trends are now neutral for trust in the House of Representatives and trust in civil servants, where they were previously rising. Compared with other countries in the EU, the Netherlands performs relatively well on this SDG: for nearly all indicators for which international comparison was possible, the Netherlands is among the leaders.
SDG 16 Peace, justice and strong institutions: institutions
Resources and opportunities3.9%22nd
Resources and opportunities
Resources and opportunities are resources the government has at its disposal to carry out its tasks and provide services for its citizens. Government expenditure on general public services as a percentage of GDP has continued to decline; it was 3.9 percent in 2021, 1 percentage point lower than at the beginning of the trend period in 2015. The trend is red: for this SDG the availability of fewer resources for the government is deemed to have a negative impact on well-being and the achievement of the SDGs. The Netherlands is currently trailing in the EU (22nd out of 27 EU countries in 2020).
Use here means use by citizens of services provided by the government and by social organisations. Active citizen participation in society is essential for a well-functioning democracy. One indicator to measure this is the coverage of collective labour agreements. In the Netherlands, this coverage is related to trade union membership, but also to the extent to which a collective labour agreement covers other companies and employees in the same industry. The proportion of employees covered by collective labour agreements is trending downwards; it was 75.6 percent in 2019. In 2015, at the beginning of the trend period, the figure was still 79.4 percent. A more direct indicator of active participation is voting turnout. At the last general election in the Netherlands in 2021, turnout was 78.7 percent, slightly below the 81.9 percent in 2017. It is difficult to establish how coronavirus measures affected voting turnout in 2021. Turnout is high compared with other European countries and the Netherlands is therefore in the leader group. For all countries in the comparison, the turnout figure refers to the most recent year in which parliamentary elections were held. In some countries there is a turnout or voting obligation, although this is not enforced.
Outcomes relate to the quality of public services, the openness and efficiency of government and civic engagement. The Netherlands is at the top of the EU rankings for all indicators in this category. The trends are neutral, with the exception of the Corruption Perception Index. On the basis of its high position in this Transparency International index in 2022 – fourth in the EU and eighth out of a total 180 countries – the Dutch public sector can be seen as largely free of abuse of power for personal gain, although the trend is declining. The score for the Netherlands, 80 out of 100 in 2022, was the lowest since the index began in 2012. Transparency International is concerned about Dutch political integrity. The Netherlands country does not have a reliable lobby register, it has significantly fewer regulations in place concerning political party funding than other countries, and Dutch politicians are permitted to move straight from parliament to a position in an industry for which they were previously politically responsible. Dutch government is currently preparing a law to prevent lobbying by current and former government ministers, but not by other politicians.
Subjective assessment here concerns the question of whether citizens trust the government. In this edition of the monitor, several new indicators have been added to the dashboard. Trust in institutions (the percentage of the population answering the question on how much they trust a certain institution with a score of 6 or higher on a scale of 0 to 10) is high compared with other European countries, and the trend is rising for many indicators. There are sizeable differences between institutions, however. Dashboard 16.1 already revealed that a large part of the population had sufficient trust in the armed forces (63.7 percent) and the police (77.0 percent) in 2022. Percentages are substantially smaller for the institutions described below,
The trend is rising for the share of the population who have a sufficient level of trust in the press, the EU and judges: 39.8 percent, 48.7 percent and 76.6 percent respectively in 2022. Half the population have sufficient trust in municipal government, but there are insufficient data to calculate a trend for this. For trust in both the House of Representatives (30.4 percent) and civil servants (42.5 percent) the medium-term trends (2015-2022) are no longer rising but neutral. Trust in the House of Representatives peaked in 2020, the first year of coronavirus, when 53.2 percent of the population had a sufficient level of trust. However, it plunged again subsequently, to 42.3 percent in 2021, and 30.4 percent in 2022. This is the lowest percentage since the start of the measurement in 2015.