Half of youth feel left out by pandemic response: survey

A person in a medical mask in front of the Dutch flag
Artist's rendering of a person in a medical mask in front of the Dutch flagValeryBrozhinskyDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Over half of all young people in the Netherlands aged between 16 and 24 years believe that their generation has not been taken adequately into consideration during the country's Covid-19 response, a new survey by television program EenVandaag has found. Among the chief concerns expressed by youth include study difficulties, student debt, labor market uncertainty and troubles with flex contracts, the findings revealed.

According to the survey, youth believe that older generations are currently making the decisions for which they themselves will have to bear the brunt over the long run. "The consequences of the corona measures are in addition to the problems that our generation is already dealing with: high student debt, unwanted flex contracts and an impossible housing market," one respondent wrote.

"That is not a good starting position when the economic blow comes," they added.

The issue of flex contracts was raised by many of the respondents to EenVandaag's survey, which found that one in five (19 percent) of working students are concerned about the prospect of holding on to their jobs in the wake of Covid-19. "My contract runs until January next year. I work as a designer. If the crisis is going to be deep, I really see a chance that they will not renew it," another respondent told EenVandaag.

Similarly, study plans for many remain up in the air as a result of the crisis, with 38 percent of respondents believing that they will be delayed in earning their degrees. According to the survey, this is often because few places are offering internships—a practical part of one's study that is typically required in order to graduate.

The uncertainty experienced by the youth appears to be mirrored to a large extent by their slightly older counterparts. According to the survey, nearly four in ten (38 percent) people between the ages of 25 and 34 voiced the same concerns.

The findings of the survey come almost three weeks after Prime Minister Mark Rutte spoke directly to the youth of the Netherlands, encouraging them to come up with creative solutions for adapting to life during the coronavirus crisis.