‘Horrors of Holland’:Explaining attitude change toward euthanasia and homosexuals in The Netherlands, 1971-1998


In this article, we investigate changes in public opinion in the Netherlands toward two controversial issues: homosexuals and euthanasia. We find that a rapid decrease in opposition to both issues in the seventies and early eighties was followed by a period of a stable minority opposition. We identify relevant period and cohort indicators to test which characteristics are associated with the changes in the attitudes. We collected period and cohort characteristics that are applicable to both of the attitudes, but specific attitude-related circumstantial conditions as well. For both attitudes, it turns out that the changing composition of Dutch society with regard to religiousness accounts for the largest changes in public opinion. Furthermore, we find that the influence of religion on both the attitude towards euthanasia and the attitude towards homosexuals became stronger over time, whereas the influence of educational attainment weakened over time

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    Last time updated on 15/10/2017