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Immigration, inflation, healthcare and housing a critical focus for Dutch leaders

New data from Savanta’s latest Consumer Compass tracker, which delves into some of the most pressing issues facing Europeans, reveals that immigration, inflation, healthcare and housing top the charts when it comes to the critical focus areas Dutch citizens want to see leadership address. 

Olly Warren Senior Director, EMEA 20/05/2024

There’s no doubt it’s been a year full of turbulence for Dutch politics, and as the Netherlands grapples with the complexities of governance, there are four standout priorities for the country’s residents.

New data from Savanta’s latest Consumer Compass tracker, which delves into some of the most pressing issues facing Europeans, reveals that immigration, inflation, healthcare and housing top the charts when it comes to the critical focus areas Dutch citizens want to see leadership address.

In a charged political landscape, with polarising opinions at every turn, immigration looms large on the horizon with almost four in ten (39%) ranking it as a key area for politicians to tackle over the next five years. It’s perhaps unsurprising to see this high on the agenda with migration remaining a much debated topic in the country – with net migration dramatically rising despite almost two-thirds of Dutch people wanting to see a reduction in the number of claimants, according to the BBC.

Linked to this, housing continues to pose significant challenges for Dutch citizens, with rents and house prices already sky high and continuing to grow. The cost, paired with a lack of suitable accommodation and higher demand than ever, places housing among the country’s top concerns (27%).

Worry over household budgets and healthcare payments

The cost-of-living crisis is taking its toll on Dutch citizens too. With prices rising on consumer goods, energy bills and accommodation, a third (34%) rank inflation as a key priority for leaders to tackle. This sentiment echoes a broader trend across Europe, where the issue of inflation has become a critical concern for day-to-day households.

The squeeze on personal finances has left those in the Netherlands concerned about their other outgoings too, such as the cost of healthcare, which can set the average Dutch citizen back upwards of €140 a month for basic care. It’s a hotly debated issue, with many voters wanting to see healthcare nationalised, and our data shows that a significant 32% believe it’s one of the highest priorities for local leadership to address.

The gendered lens through which priorities are viewed adds nuance to the narrative. Women are more likely than men to say that healthcare needs to be a top priority (35% vs 27% respectively) – and they are also more likely to feel the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, with 40% urging leaders to prioritise bringing inflation down vs 27% of men.

How do the Dutch feel about other key policy areas?

Against the backdrop of these domestic concerns, the shadow of international conflicts looms, with 28% of Dutch citizens expressing a desire for local and European leadership to address the Russia-Ukraine crisis. This geopolitical dimension adds a layer of complexity to the already fraught policy discourse, intertwining global dynamics with local imperatives.

Despite the disillusionment with traditional political institutions, as evidenced by the low approval rating of the government among the Dutch (23%), they feel far more satisfaction than many of their other European counterparts when it comes to other important areas. Ranking low on the list of issues for leaders to tackle over the next five years are: Education (10%), Pensions (8%) and Transport (6%), signalling relative contentment.

And, despite current challenges, crucially the population remains engaged in driving priority areas forward, with over half (53%) expressing interest in the upcoming European parliament elections in June.

 

To find out more about what Europeans think and feel about topics such as climate change, taxation, tech and AI and much more, you can download the full report for free today.

*Savanta’s European Consumer Compass is quarterly survey of over 3,000 respondents in Europe. The research explores consumer sentiments and confidence across 6 European markets: the Netherlands, France, Nordics, Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK.

 

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