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An important measure for social cohesion, aside from participation in society, is people’s trust in society. Within the European Union, the Netherlands scores high on levels of trust, in other people as well as in social and political institutions. What are trust levels like in other European countries?

Meetlat-20-Vertrouwen_ENG P T PL FR SI HU ES CZ BE DE UK L T A T EE IE SE NL DK* FI 67.6% Tr u s t i n o t h e r s , 2016 (*2014) Sou r c e: CBS , Eu r op e an Social Sur ve y

Dutch people show a high level of trust in other people. Two-thirds of the population put confidence in others. With a share exceeding three-quarters, mutual trust is higher only in Finland and Denmark. Differences with other European countries are large. In neighbouring countries such as Belgium, Germany and the UK, less than half of the population trust their fellow citizens. The lowest trust levels at less than one-quarter of the population are seen in Portugal, Poland, France and Slovenia.

A share of 71 percent in the Dutch population have faith in the legal system. At over 80 percent, only Danish and Finnish put even greater trust in the judiciary. Again, there are marked differences among the countries. At the bottom are Slovenia and Poland: less than one-quarter of the population trust the legal system. Levels of judicial distrust are also high in Spain and Portugal.

60% of Dutch people trust national parliament
17% of Polish citizens show this trust

Wide scepticism about Parliament

Political trust is an important indicator of how democratic a society is. Close to 60 percent of the Dutch population trust their national parliament. This puts the Netherlands at the top of Europe alongside Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Especially Polish and Slovenian citizens are sceptical about how their parliament works.

In many countries, there is also little trust in politicians. No more than one in ten inhabitants of France, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Slovenia trust the elected representatives and political parties of their own country.

Only in Lithuania, a narrow majority have faith in the European Parliament. Slightly less than half of the inhabitants of Finland trust this institution. The share stands at 41 percent in the Netherlands. At the end of the list are France and the United Kingdom, where less than one-quarter of the population have faith in the European Parliament.


European Social Survey


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* Provisional figure
** Revised provisional figure
2018-2019 2018 to 2019 inclusive
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