Netherlands: Dutch feel better about immigration, think freedom of religion should be limited

Netherlands: Dutch feel better about immigration, think freedom of religion should be limited

Less and less Dutch have problems with immigrants.  Currently 35% think the Netherlands would be a nicer country if there would be less immigrants.  At the end of last year 41% shared this opinion.

This according to a survey by the Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP).  According to the researchers more and more people say that the presence of different cultures is an asset for the Netherlands.  The percent of citizens with this opinion increased from 36% at the end of last year, to 44%.

Also, less and less people think that it's going badly with immigrants and their integration in Dutch society.  The researchers of SCP say further that in recent months people react less sharply regarding immigrants.

The improved feeling about immigrants seems to have nothing to do with economic downturn.  The citizens are still as pessimistic about the economic situation.  Currently, 65% of the Dutch are gloomy about the economy.  That was also the case at the end of last year.


A majority (61%) of Dutch think that freedom of speech shouldn't go so far as to offend people's religious feelings.

In particular women, those aged 55+, the highly educated and churchgoers think that there's a limit to insulting believers.  A small majority of Dutch (54%) also thinks that freedom of speech should be more strongly protected, but religious people agree less often with that.

SCP says that many people think that particularly for religion, people's resilience is very small.  In the discussion about freedom of speech, the ideas about integration and the toughening of society play a role. Freedom of speech is seen as a typically Dutch value which is under pressure.  Others see in the greater stress regarding this freedom either a decline in tolerance, or a greater inclination to feel attacked.

Most of those interviewed didn't think there's a role for government in this.  They this this is mostly an issue for the civilians, in which decency and communication play a big role.  Many people mentioned in this connection the way in which PVV leader Geert Wilders expresses himself regarding Islam.

Sources: Telegraaf, ND (Dutch)

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