Record Trust Gap between Informed Public and Mass Population as Societal and Health Challenges Persist:

As institutions are put to the test by the associated economic and social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the largest ever Trust Gap between the mass population and informed public has emerged in The Netherlands.  This year’s study measures trust amongst respondents in 28 markets, including the Netherlands, and investigates societal perceptions and expectations of the four major institutions—government, business, NGOs and media.  

Global Pandemic Puts Trust to the Test

As the pandemic adds to people’s persistent personal and societal fears, key finding are:

  • Concerns about job losses, climate change, hackers / cyber-attacks and contracting Covid are making people concerned and fearful – with over half of Dutch people saying they are concerned and 17% saying they are afraid of losing their freedoms as citizens
  • While the Trust Index among the informed public is at 79, the Trust Index among the mass population is only 62, resulting in a trust gap of 17 points - a dramatic seven-point increase in the trust gap year-on-year
  • Escalating fears to find solutions to critical societal problems, including a raging pandemic see nearly 57% of Dutch people believing the crisis will deepen inequity and the economic and health impacts distributed unequally across society
  • Four in ten Dutch people believe the government is purposely trying to mislead the public by saying things they know are false or are gross exaggerations
  • Indeed, the pandemic has accelerated the potential consequences of poor “information hygiene” where less than a quarter of Dutch people (23%) have good information hygiene which includes verifying information
  • As a consequence, the Trust Gap between informed and mass population has grown most significantly with regard to media. An example of this is 43% of Dutch respondents agreeing journalists are purposely trying to mislead people 

Today employers are beacon of trust

However, amidst this uncertainty, it is ‘my employer’ who is proving to be a beacon of trust – currently ranked the second most believable information source among those surveyed in The Netherlands.  Indeed, nearly two thirds of Dutch people (63%) say CEOs should step in when government does not fix societal problems with 62% agreeing that CEOs should take the lead on change, rather than waiting for government to impose it. 


Check out the perspective of opinion leaders on the Dutch results of the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer:

Steven Heywood

General Manager, Edelman Amsterdam

Vicky Sins

Circular Transformation Lead, WBA

Jim Stolze

Tech Entrepreneur

Deborah Carter

Managing Director, Preparation Tech

Jill Murray

Global Chief Marketing Officer, Arcadis




What is the impact on your organization?

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