A new system for reporting hate crimes in the Netherlands has revealed that the vast majority of homophobic attacks are carried out by native Dutch men.

There have been several high-profile attacks on gay people by member of ethnic minority groups in the past year.

Some rightwing MPs to claim that Muslims are homophobic and out of touch with Dutch society, which is renowned for its tolerance.

However, police figures covering the first six months of this year reveal that just 16% of the 150 reports of verbal or physical violence against gay men and women were carried out by non-whites.

28% of the attacks were violent, the others took the form of intimidation, verbal abuse or vandalism. Police said the vast majority of victims and attackers were men.

This year police and regional anti-discrimination bureaus across the Netherlands have introduced a uniform system to register incidents of homophobic abuse and other discrimination.

Overall 1,512 hate crime incidents were reported.

More than half of Dutch gays feel less safe than they did a year ago, a survey carried out in August by current affairs programme EenVandaag revealed.

Amsterdam’s image in the Netherlands as the ‘gay capital of the world’ is also under threat as the survey revealed gays there were more fearful than in other parts of country.

Of the 23,000 people questioned, including 1,980 gays and lesbians, 61 per cent still maintained the Netherlands is a gay-friendly country.

The government of Holland has committed itself to the active promotion of acceptance of LGBT people in the light of several high-profile homophobic attacks in the country.

In a memorandum on the 2008 Budget, the coalition government’s Cabinet said that respect for difference is a basic condition of Dutch society.

They committed millions of euros to fight homophobia and promote acceptance.

Home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst told DutchNews.nl that lesbian and gay victims are less likely to report incidents to the police and the number is probably under-represented by the figures.