What does the survey comprise?

Purpose of the survey

To compile data at the national level about current topics in society, with the focus on how the Dutch population perceives them. This not only includes their opinion on current issues, but also the perception of one’s own situation. Topics covered in previous surveys are solidarity in healthcare, responsibilities of government and citizens, well-being and perception of safety.

Target population

Persons aged 18 years or older living in private households in the Netherlands.

Statistical unit


Starting date/year of survey

The Perceptions survey was carried out for the first time in 2010. The pilot survey covered the topics ‘solidarity in health care’ and ‘well-being’. A second pilot was conducted in 2012 with the topic ‘responsibilities of government and of citizens themselves’. The following themes were studied in subsequent surveys:

  • 2013: labour and ageing;
  • 2014: health care;
  • 2015: life situation of young people (12 to 25-year-olds);
  • 2016: perception of safety;
  • 2017: sustainability, refugees, social media, timing of having children;
  • 2018: health care;
  • 2019: life situation of people aged 55 and over (over-55s);
  • 2020: climate change and energy transition;
  • 2021: life situation of young people (12 to 25-year-olds).



Publication strategy

The figures are definitive.

How is the survey conducted?

Type of research

Perceptions is a survey in which data are collected through survey questionnaires. A random sample is taken of individual respondents on the basis of the Personal Records Database (BRP). The data are usually collected in the spring, between February and June.

Observation method

The data collection mode is of a mixed-mode design. All selected sample persons receive a letter asking them to complete the questionnaire via the internet (CAWI). This is followed by two rounds of written reminders in which all sample persons who have not yet responded receive a letter. Some of the people who did not respond via CAWI are subsequently being contacted by interviewers by telephone (CATI) or at home (CAPI) and asked to participate after all. In 2018, CAPI was deployed for the first time in a targeted manner. Since 2019, this has been done in both CATI and CAPI: interviewers still mainly approach people from groups with relatively low participation via CAWI to get a better reflection of the target population in the total response.
In 2021, observations were only done via the internet (CAWI). The reasons for this are the specific target group (young people are usually well versed in the internet), the possible sensitivity of some questions and the uncertainty about the possibilities of CAPI observation in spring 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Persons aged 18 years or older living in private households. In 2015 and 2021, the survey was conducted among young people aged 12 to 24 years. In 2019, only people over 55 were approached.

Response rate

The results from the Perceptions survey are based on answers that are received from approximately 3,500 individuals annually. The response rate was higher in 2021 (with over 8,000 young respondents) since all observations were internet-based.

Checking and correction methods

A non-response analysis and plausibility check are included in each perceptions survey.


Differences between the composition of the sample and the total population are corrected by means of a weighting factor, usually based on the characteristics of age, sex, marital status, migration background, household size, standardised household income, province and degree of urbanisation. The weights are determined at personal level.

For Perceptions 2020, a weighting factor has also been developed at household level so that statements can be made at both person and household level.

Quality of the results


As the survey is based on a sample, the figures are subject to chance fluctuations. Figures are not shown if the number of respondents in a classification category is lower than 100, as the margins are considered to be too wide.


Up until 2018, the response rate in the Perceptions survey was always around 60 percent. Due to the target group approach of interviewer modes, fewer participants are being contacted a second time and there is a lower response from them. This has resulted in lower response rates. In 2018, the response rate stood at 41 percent. In 2019, the target population of over-55s had a response rate of 55 percent. The response to the survey in 2020 was 39 percent. The response rate in 2021 in the target population of 12 to 24-year-olds was 43 percent.