Country Profile: Netherlands

Transatlantic Relationship and Global Views

  • Respondents generally viewed the EU favorably. In Europe, 66% of respondents viewed the EU very or somewhat favorably. Dutch respondents ranked similarly with the rest of Europe with 65% replying favorably.
  • Many in Europe had mixed feelings with regard to their own governments’ handling of international policies with 45% disapproving and 50% approving, including 61% of Dutch respondents in approval.
  • In Europe, 70% of respondents described their opinion of the United States as favorable or somewhat favorable, while 26% described their opinion of the country as somewhat or very unfavorable. Positive opinion of the United States decreased in the Netherlands (from 78% to 69% in 2012).
  • European respondents held positive opinions of President Barack Obama’s international policies with 69% of respondents approving, while 21% disapproved. Within Europe, the Netherlands was the most enthusiastic in its support, with 77% of respondents expressing approval.
  • Europeans described China negatively as well; 60%, up from 50% last year, viewed China very or somewhat unfavorably while only 31%, down ten percentage points from last year, viewed China very or somewhat favorably. In the Netherlands, opinion of China dropped significantly since last year from 50% to 36% approval.
  • China has become a lower priority as American and European respondents emphasized their relationship with each other. Americans said that the EU was more important than China (53%), while the EU was even more likely to describe the U.S. as more important (71%). In Europe, the Dutch favored U.S. importance slightly less (67%).
  • When asked whether countries like India, Brazil, and Indonesia pose more of an economic opportunity or more of a threat to jobs and prosperity, two-thirds in the EU (64%) said that they presented more of an opportunity, while 23% of Europeans disagreed. Dutch respondents were the most optimistic with 73% optimistic about cooperation.

Economic Crisis, Europe, and Trade

  • In Europe, the United States, and Turkey, large majorities believe that their economic system disproportionately rewards the few at the expense of the many. Sixty-eight percent of Americans, 82% of Europeans, and 69% of Turks said that most of the benefits of their economic system go to a few, while 25% of Americans, 15% of Europeans, and 23% of Turks said that their economic system works fairly for everybody. Within Europe, Dutch respondents were most likely to believe that their system worked fairly for everyone with 35% of this opinion.
  • In Europe, nearly every country reported broad disapproval of its government’s handling of the economy, with 62% of respondents disapproved of their government’s handling of the economy, while 34% approved. Dutch respondents expressed increasing disapproval, with 66% disapproving — up from 52% last year.
  • When asked their opinion of the EU’s handling of the economic crisis, 43% of European respondents approved, while 49% disapproved. Countries like the Netherlands that were less affected by the crisis were most positive with Dutch respondents polling at 53% approval ratings.
  • Europeans were more confident in the leadership of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with 47% saying that they approved of her handling of the economic crisis while 42% disapproved. Although these numbers varied drastically between countries, majorities in the Netherlands approved with the highest approval rates in Europe of 73%.
  • While overall, European respondents (57%) believed that EU membership had been good for their economy, 34% said that it had been bad. Agreement in the Netherlands has dropped from 75% in 2010 to 60% in 2013.
  • Very few respondents believe that the EU should have more authority over member states’ budgetary and economic policy, with 68% of Europeans against EU control over national economic policy and 26% who believe it should. Dutch respondents were among the most likely to favor economic sovereignty with 75% against EU control.

Transatlantic Security

  • When asked whether the U.S. and EU partnership in security and diplomatic affairs should become closer, remain about the same, or whether the respondents’ side should take a more independent approach, pluralities of both Europeans (42%) and Americans (33%) stated that their own side should take a more independent approach. The Dutch were among the least interested in moving closer with only 21% in favor of more collaboration.
  • Despite pervasive pessimism about the ultimate success of the NATO mission in Afghanistan the institution was seen as “still essential” for their country’s security by 55% of Americans and 58% of Europeans — values that have hardly fluctuated since 2002. Dutch respondents were the highest polled with 72% seeing NATO as still essential for national security.
  • Asked whether they approved of unmanned aircraft (drones) being used more extensively to find and kill suspected enemies in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, 71% of U.S. respondents said they approved, while 53% of Europeans disapproved. Approval in the Netherlands was among the highest polled at 49% approval.
  • With regard to Syria, where the government has been using military force to suppress an opposition movement, respondents were asked whether their government should stay out completely or intervene. A two-thirds majority in the U.S. (62%, up 7 percentage points) along with nearly three-fourths of respondents in Europe (72%, up 13 percentage points) preferred to stay out. The Netherlands had a 20 point increase to 68% against, the highest polled.
  • Transatlantic opinions about how best to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons have converged. A plurality of Americans (29%) preferred imposing economic sanctions. A plurality of Europeans (32%, up four percentage points) agreed, in a shift from previous years, when Europeans had tended to prefer offering economic incentives instead. The highest approval rating for the sanctions option was registered in the Netherlands with 38%.
  • Americans and Europeans were also in agreement (13% and 12%, respectively) about the level of desirability of using computer technology to sabotage nuclear installations — however Dutch respondents (9%) liked it least.
  • While very few Europeans and Americans favored military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons when given a broad choice of options, when asked to imagine that all non-military options had been exhausted, a plurality in the EU (48%, 35% of the total sample) and a majority in the U.S. (64%, 37% of the total sample) favored the use of force. Accepting a nuclear Iran instead of military action the Netherlands (45%, 34% of the total sample).

Mobility, Migration, and Integration

  • When asked if they were worried about legal immigration, majorities in America (73%) and Europe (69%) agreed that they were not. Concern was among the highest in the Netherlands (32%).
  • Majorities in the United States (61%) and Europe (52%) stated that they felt that first-generation immigrants were integrating well into their society and a majority in the Netherlands agreed (54%). When asked about second-generation immigrants, 68% of Americans thought they were integrating well, with 59% of Europeans concurring. The Netherlands had a fairly high percentage of respondents who thought they were integrating poorly however with 35%.
  • On both sides of the Atlantic, respondents were unhappy with their government’s management of immigration policy. Sixty-eight percent of Americans stated that the U.S. government was doing a poor job; 58% of Europeans felt the same way about their governments. Dutch concern registered somewhat highly with (54%).