WELFARE WINDOW

The 16 of September 2013 Holland’s new king Willem-Alexander declared in a nationally televised annual address that the welfare state of the 20th century is over. The Netherlands is considered as a bright example of a welfare state. According to a survey performed by the World Health Organization in 2012, Dutch teenagers were proclaimed the happiest teenagers of the Western World, and Dutch society featured the lowest degree of social and generational conflict. The reasons of this success were mainly due to the Dutch welfare system, particularly in its grants and financial support for students, together with a very innovative educational system that accounted for 11.9% of government budget. In a country where single parents form 417.000 families and a fourth of infants are born to unmarried parents, single parents enjoy child benefits and a tax break provided to all such families. This remarkable system is about to end. In fact, the independent analysis agency Monday showed that the budget deficit will widen in 2014 to 3.3% of GDP despite new spending cuts intended to reduce it. Vathorst, a middle-class residential neighbourhood on the outskirts of Amersfoort, could be considered an average Dutch neighbourhood by its statistical features. It can be used as a case study to represent Dutch society and observe the effects of the changes in the welfare system in the Netherlands.