Growing confidence in the military

09/09/2014 15:00

The growing number of conflict-stricken areas and increased global tension has focused more attention on the military. Statistics Netherlands asked people in 2012 and 2013, whether they had confidence in the military. Last year, 62 percent of people over the age of 15 answered affirmatively, versus 59 percent in 2012.  Police and judiciary are trusted most by the population, as the survey conducted by Statistics Netherlands shows.

Wide support for the military from young people

There is wide support for the military in the Dutch population. There appears to be no difference between the genders and the differences between the various income categories and education levels, between people with a foreign background and native Dutch and between people living in urbanised and rural areas are only minor. Many young people support the military; more than three-quarter of 15 to 25-year-olds, seven in every ten 25 to 35-year-olds and more than half of over-65s report to have confidence in the military.  

Proportion of over-15s stating they have confidence in the military, 2013

Proportion of over-15s stating they have confidence in the military, 2013

Also wide support among Protestants

The degree of support and confidence also varies according to religion. Protestants appear to be avid supporters of the military. With seven in ten, public trust in the military is particularly high among Calvinists and members of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands.  With six in ten, the amount of confidence in the military is distinctly lower among Roman Catholics and non-religious people, who constitute nearly three-quarters of the population. Just over half of members of the Muslim population in the Netherlands have confidence in the military.

Police and judicial system are trusted most

Two-thirds of survey participants indicated to have confidence in police and judiciary, i.e. a higher proportion than for the military. The population has more doubts about other institutions. A distinct minority (between 29 and 34 percent) have confidence in churches, the press, the Lower House, the EU and the banking system. The degree of confidence in large companies and civil servants is marginally higher.

Confidence in institutions and social trust, over-15s

Confidence in institutions and social trust, over-15s

The military is the only institution to see a notable gain in public confidence

The amount of confidence in institutions like banks, large companies, churches, civil servants, the Lower House and the European Union has declined marginally since 2012. Confidence in police, judges and press has remained unchanged. Social trust also stayed the same: 58 percent indicated that they thought ‘most people’ can be trusted, as against 42 percent who thought that ‘you can’t be too careful’.  The military is the only institution to see a notable gain in public confidence.

Hans Schmeets and Judit Arends