High proportion of the Dutch population trust their fellow men and institutions

24/08/2010 15:00

A majority in the Dutch population have confidence in their fellow men and in various national and international institutions. The Netherlands takes up a prominent position in Europe in this respect.

Social trust only higher in Scandinavia

With 64 percent, the rate of confidence in their fellow men is high in the Netherlands. This so-called social trust is only marginally higher in the Scandinavian countries. In Germany and Belgium, only four in ten people trust their fellow citizens. The confidence rate is even lower in countries in Eastern Europe, Greece and Portugal.

Trust in fellow men, 2008

Trust in fellow men, 2008

Together with Scandinavia, the Netherlands also scores high when it comes to trust in politicians and political institutions. The Netherlands also scores relatively high on trust in the legal system and the police.

Public confidence in legal system and politicians improve most

In 2002, 58 percent of the Dutch population said they trusted their fellow men versus 64 percent in 2008. Institutional trust has increased even more over the period 2002-2008. Public confidence in the legal system and the police grew considerably by about 11 percent.

Public confidence in the European parliament, politicians and political parties has not overwhelming. Approximately half of the Dutch population indicated in 2008 to trust these institutions.

Confidence in fellow men, institutions and organisations

Confidence in fellow men, institutions and organisations

Education important factor

The extent to which people trust their fellow men and institutions depends on personal characteristics. In general, the level of social and institutional trust tends to be high among frequent worshippers, students and people with paid jobs. 

Education appears to be an important factor: trust is higher among higher educated people. Nearly three quarters of higher educated people are inclined to trust their fellow men versus only half of lower educated. Higher educated also tend to have more trust in institutions than lower educated.

Level of trust by education, 2002-2008

Level of trust by education, 2002-2008

Rianne Kloosterman, Rik Linssen and Hans Schmeets