According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands this week, nearly four in ten Dutch people undertake political activities other than voting in an election. The share of politically active people varies between regions but is overall significantly lower than in Germany.
Relatively more Germans than Dutch and Belgians politically active
People can try to influence politics in a number of ways. In addition to voting in elections, people can be politically active by contacting a politician, working for a political party or pressure group, signing a petition, or taking part in a demonstration. Around 37 percent of the population in the Netherlands and Belgium had undertaken at least one such political action in 2012, in Germany this was significantly more: 59 percent.
Large regional differences
Participation in political actions differs between regions. In the Netherlands, the share of politically active people varies from 25 percent in the north of the country to 39 percent in the west. The discrepancy is larger in Belgium where 32 percent of the Flemish and 48 percent of the Walloon population are politically active. In former East Germany, the 52 percent of the population who are politically active is much smaller than in former West Germany where a very clear majority – 61 percent are active. In the German states bordering on the Netherlands (North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony), too, the majority of the population are politically active. Residents of these states trust their fellow citizens – and more in particular politics – a lot less than the Dutch people living across the border.