Netherlands, most of EU support letting in at least some refugees

Rene van Berlo working at Oisterwijk refugee center
Asylum authority worker Rene van Berlo playing football at an Oisterwijk refugee facility (photo: COA)Asylum authority worker Rene van Berlo playing football at an Oisterwijk refugee facility (photo: COA)

The willingness to take in at least some asylum seekers increased in most EU countries, including the Netherlands, since 2002, according to a study done by the Social and Cultural Planning Office among 15 countries.

The SCP used information from the European Social Survey. The most recent information comes from early 2015, so before the arrival of large numbers of Syrian asylum seekers. This means that the study does not show how Europeans currently feel about the arrival of asylum seekers, but what they felt early last year.

Early last year 30 percent of Dutch supported taking in asylum seekers. Only Belgium and the Czech Republic scored lower, with 27 and 21 percent respectively. The willingness for asylum reception was much higher in Sweden with 60 percent and Poland with 63 percent.

When it comes to taking in Muslim asylum seekers, Poland was at the bottom when it came to willingness, along with Estonia and the Czech Republic. The Netherlands was in the middle with Switzerland, Denmark, Slovenia and Belgium. More than 80 percent of Swedes indicated that "some or many Muslims" can be given shelter if the need it. Sweden is currently trying to close their borders.

The SCP also found that highly educated people feel less threatened by the arrival of migrants than those with a lower education. The low education people are also quicker to worry about "own culture and identity". But it is the group with a mid-level of education that is the least welcoming to asylum seekers, also in the Netherlands. In this group, 62 percent of respondents said that their government should not be generous in admitting refugees.