This research was conducted from February up to May 2017 and aims to gain a better insight into views and sentiments in society based on Dutch people’s perceptions and opinions. The topics in this survey vary from year to year. The survey Perceptions 2017 lists several questions related to refugees and economic migrants. It includes data obtained from 3,339 respondents in total aged 18 years or older.
1 in 5 consider refugees a threat to safety
Although most Dutch people are in favour of receiving refugees, some fear they bring about negative consequences. Over one-fifth (22 percent) of the population consider refugees as a threat to safety in the Netherlands. However, this threat is not perceived by nearly half. A similar picture is observed in relation to the perception whether refugees pose a threat to the Dutch norms and values. Over one-quarter (27 percent) feel that refugees are a potential hazard in this respect; 45 percent do not believe they are.
A greater division among Dutch residents is seen in the contribution refugees make to the Dutch culture: 31 percent say they enrich our culture and 36 percent believe they do not. In addition, 31 percent feel that refugees should be able to maintain their own culture, versus 33 percent of people who do not agree.
Men and lower-educated less positive
Men and people with a low level of education have a less positive view of refugees than women and higher educated people. They are generally more likely to perceive refugees as a threat to safety and to Dutch norms and values. They also have a more negative opinion on the contribution of refugees to the Dutch culture and are relatively less inclined to believe that refugees should be able to maintain their own culture.
Economic migrants less welcome than refugees
There is a smaller support base for economic migrants, especially those from countries outside the European Union. Half of the Dutch population feel that these immigrants should not be not allowed to live and work in the Netherlands, versus nearly one-quarter (24 percent) who are open to this. In the case of migrants from other EU countries, the shares are 30 and 44 percent respectively.