Majority of Dutch underestimate public deficit
The vast majority of Dutch people are unaware of the extent of the public debt in the Netherlands, a survey conducted by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has revealed.
Assess how well-informed the Dutch are
The survey was conducted in order to find out how well-informed the Dutch population is about the extent of the public debt, to assess their attitudes towards it and the extent to which they are aware of the factors which have contributed to it.
Just over 20 percent of respondents were able to estimate the extent of the debt, which now lies at 450 billion euros, accurately. However, the majority of people significantly underestimated the figure, with over 45 percent putting the number at 100 billion euros or less.
Significant increase in public debt
Since the beginning of the financial crisis in early 2008 the public deficit in the Netherlands has risen from 45 percent of GDP to 74 percent this year, a difference of some 190 billion euros.
The majority of this increase has been as a result of public spending and consecutive budget deficits since 2009, totalling to 120 billion euros.
Support for the financial sector and help provided for other struggling European governments amounts to "just" eight percent of the deficit.
Misconceptions about the cause of Dutch debt
Although 43 percent of people are aware that the budget deficit is playing a major role in the increasing Dutch public debt, a larger majority (47 percent) believe that support for the financial sector and other European nations is the main force behind the deficit.