Adolescent Panel Democratic Values and School Trajectories (ADKS)

The Research Project.

Resilient democracy requires a strong political culture. To ensure this political culture, political scientists have long emphasized the political socialization of young people to the core values of representative, liberal democracy. The last decades have seen many strong claims about political socialization and democratic disaffection in established democracies. Yet, remarkably little is known about the development of democratic values among adolescents. How do they think about democracy, the rule of law, and politics? How much value do they attach to representation and inclusiveness, civic liberties, solidarity and equality, and the separation of powers? When does the process of socialization occur? And at which age does the unequal attachment to democracy (by a.o. level of education, class, gender, and migration background) manifest itself?

The Adolescent Panel on Democratic Core Values and School Trajectories (Dutch acronym: ADKS) aims to answer these questions and more.


The ADKS is a panel study that will run for six years. In 2018 we approached all first year students in all classes of fifty secondary schools across the Netherlands (i.e., average age 12 year old students). These students are monitored via digital questionnaires on a yearly basis, so that their development to democratic citizenship may be studied.

The ADKS is a project by the University of Amsterdam, headed by prof.dr. Geert ten Dam (Education Sciences), prof.dr. Herman van de Werfhorst (Sociology), and myself and executed by three postdocs (Ellis Aizenberg, Paula Thijs, Frank Wanders) and a PhD-student (Laura Mulder). ADKS is supported by ProDemos: House for democracy and the rule of law, and the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP), and financed by the Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs.