The Netherlands ranks 11th in the SGI 2011 Status Index.
The quality of Dutch democracy, still highly satisfactory, has nonetheless eroded in several areas.
In the economic sphere, performance largely remained stable at moderately high levels, althogh the crisis has constrained economic policy and the fiscal situation. Major reforms, especially in heath care and the pension system, suggests that changes in social affairs are under way.
Deteriorating scores in resources (environment, R&D, education) and security have contributed to the overall decline of the Netherlands in the status ranking.
The quality of Dutch democracy (rank 10), once considered steadfast, has diminished.
Autocratically led protest parties draw considerable support from the electorate. Corruption prevention in politics, especially regarding party finances, is inadequate. The media landscape remains diverse, but media concentration is under way.
Some conspicuous miscarriages of justice have spawned public debate on the quality of the justice system, in particular the need for a special court to review (mis)tried cases.
At rank 10, the Netherlands shows above-average economic and employment policy performance.
The financial crisis and the subsequent European debt crisis undermined the Netherlands’ economic policy goals, clouding outlooks on almost all other policy areas as well. The government’s budgetary situation has deteriorated rapidly.
A tradition of wage moderation has helped sustain a relatively low level of unemployment, mitigating the negative consequences of the crisis. Benefits following job loss are relatively high, guaranteeing a certain level of income security.
Taxation policy addresses the trade-off between equity and competitiveness reasonably well. Tax policies do not discriminate between societal groups or types of enterprises.
The Netherlands ranks 11th in the SGI’s social affairs category.
A major heath care overhaul in 2006 moved the system in a market-oriented direction. The electronic patient dossier introduced in 2008 allows patients’ medical information to be exchanged between nursing staff, general practitioners and pharmacists.
The country’s social security system largely provides a stable income for those who experience unemployment, disability or illness. Migrants have a comparatively low unemployment rate, and benefit from labor market integration measures.
Day care centers for young children are not directly subsidized. The government proposed an increase in the age of pension eligibility to 67.
The Balkenende IV government achieved no consensus on whether the Netherlands’ military involvement in ISAF should continue beyond December 2010. Mostly as a consequence of the Dutch military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism raised the general threat level for the Netherlands from “limited” to “substantial” in March 2008.
Social polarization poses a growing challenge to internal security. International jihadist groups have won influence, anti-Islam statements are gaining currency, and right-wing parties are gaining traction.
At rank 18, assessessment of the Netherlands’ resource sustainability has worsened.
The economic crisis appears likely to slow the development of environmentally friendly technologies. Environmental goals for 2015 will partially be met, but most 2020 goals appear out of reach.
Although the Netherlands has aimed to push its innovative capacity to the OECD’s top ranks, the feasibility of this goal is fading. Particularly in the high-tech sector, companies have reduced spending on R&D.
Equality and equity are still important characteristics of the Dutch educational system. But a 2007 parliamentary inquiry into educational outcomes revealed a shortage of high-quality teachers and an alarming dropout rate.