The Myth of Dutch Legal Culture

  • Marc Hertogh
Part of the Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies book series (PSLS)


This chapter lays out the empirical context of the book and reviews all major public opinion surveys from the past decade to analyze the public opinion climate in the Netherlands. There is a widely held belief—both among academics and policymakers—that strong popular support for the justice system is a prominent feature of Dutch legal culture. This image is usually based on surveys which focus exclusively on public trust. However, this chapter argues that when we consider all survey evidence (and not only those studies that focus on trust), the legitimacy of the Dutch justice system is no longer self-evident, but has become structurally contested. Contemporary Dutch legal culture is not characterized by ‘solid support’ but by ‘sullen toleration’ of the justice system.


Methodology Public trust Surveys Legal culture Sullen toleration 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Socio-Legal Studies, Faculty of LawUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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