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Dutch named world's most satisfied people

Go to the Netherlands to find ultimate satisfaction, survey reveals


The Netherlands has yet again scored well in the international charts, with a new study revealing that the broad majority of Dutch people are satisfied with their lives.

Netherlands statistics bureau CBS has just released figures that reveal a staggering 85% of Dutch adults are satisfied with life in the Netherlands.

Taking into account factors like work, home life, free time, money and personal relationships, the study included people across different regions, professions and age groups.

90% of respondents said that they were either ‘satisfied’ or ‘highly satisfied’ with their homes and personal relationships, whilst 80% were satisfied with their work lives.

Consistently performing well in global happiness and quality of life surveys, the Netherlands ranked fourth in the 2013 World Happiness Report, and is the world’s ninth happiest country in the Legatum Institute’s 2013 Prosperity Index. So what is it that the Dutch are so happy about?

For one, the Dutch are the most satisfied workers in the world. A 2013 survey by workplace research company Randstad found that Dutch workers enjoy the highest rates of satisfaction with their work lives out of all 27 counties surveyed.  80% of employees said they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their jobs.

Dutch incomes are amongst the highest in the world, with a 29 hour working week that rates as the world’s shortest. It isn’t surprising then that a 2013 OECD report found the Netherlands to strike the world’s best work-life balance. The Dutch may be without paid public holidays and a less than average amount of time off per year, but it’s their national attitude towards work that really sets them apart.

 ‘The Dutch have a nine-to-five mentality much more than other countries have,’ explains economics professor at the University of Twente Shawn Donnelly on online expat resource I Am Expat.

‘If it’s 5:30pm and you aren’t home with your family or on your way there, you’re a freak. That means they can detach themselves from the stress more easily than elsewhere.’ Getting a pre-summer bonus (‘vakantiegeld’) that comprises 8% of your annual salary can’t hurt, either.

Or perhaps it is the way the Dutch are raised that teaches them to be happy as adults. A 2007 report by Unicef deems the Netherlands to be a very child-centred society, with Dutch children identified as the most fortunate in Europe.

Taking into account relative poverty, educational and health standards, children’s relationships with friends and family and their sexual behaviour, the happiness of Dutch children was largely attributed to their relationship with their parents. Dutch family environments were classed as very open and communicative, with parents less likely to put pressure on children at school.

Interestingly, CBS found the age group 25-35 to be the least satisfied with their lives, with over 65s taking out the top spot. The younger group expressed frustration at their financial situation and lack of free time, but were the most satisfied in their personal relationships.


CBS also found that whilst satisfaction levels were high across a number of factors, only 44% of respondents expressed satisfaction in all areas of life.


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About Author

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.