The Netherlands – One of the Happiest Countries in the World

The Netherlands offers both great education prospects and quality of life. But studying abroad in the Netherlands may have even more benefits.

You may be considering study in the Netherlands due to the excellent universities and the wonderful quality of life for students. But did you know that the Netherlands is one of the happiest countries in the world? We take a closer look at happiness levels in the Netherlands, and how happiness could benefit your studies.

 What is the World Happiness Index?

 Published every year, the World Happiness Index is an assessment of different countries’ levels of happiness. It looks at well-being rather than economic figures. The researchers assess factors such as healthcare, freedom, social involvement, and trust in society and government.

 Year after year, Holland regularly comes top. This year, Holland is rising up the ranks behind, now holding sixth position. Norway holds the highest position, followed by Denmark. Dutch national statistics show that 88% of the Dutch consider themselves to be happy.

 Why is the Netherlands such a Happy Country?

Holland’s consistently high happiness rankings have prompted researchers to look at what is behind its high scores. They have come to several conclusions.

 Better Work Life Balance

Firstly, the Dutch work structure may be helping happiness levels. It is true that our working lives can affect our levels of happiness in profound ways. In Holland, where dual income is not a necessity for a comfortable life like in other countries, it is possible to work fewer hours and still enjoy a good quality of life.

 The Netherlands has the highest percentage of adults in part-time employment. Flexible hours as well as a more flexible approach to the work-life balance in general may well make people living in Holland happier. Women in Holland recently gained the right to cut back hours without consequences from their employers; this may also be raising levels of happiness.


 Exercise, exercise, exercise

Secondly, high rates of physical exercise could be benefiting people in living in Holland. Holland is a very active country; you only have to look at Amsterdam where 63% of those living in the city use their bike on a daily basis (according to the website

 The Netherlands comes top of 28 European countries for physical exercise. According to the British Heart Foundation, 53% of adults in the Netherlands do moderate physical activity 4-7 times a week.

 Much research into the benefits of exercise have found lowered stress and improved mental health. It’s possible that Holland’s high levels of physical activity helps workers to de-stress and relax.

 It’s all in your mind

A lot is to be said for the Dutch mindset. Holland is a liberal, open and friendly country.. For this reason, the country is a very popular destination for students, with students opting to attend one of the many excellent universities and enjoy living in the relaxed and welcoming country.

 This is evident in lots of ways. There’s no obligation to understand or speak Dutch to be accepted; many universities even offer courses in English. There is a thriving LGBTQ+ community which is celebrated across the country; one example being the annual summer festival in Amsterdam.

 In many ways, the celebration of the individual in Holland is symbolised by the way in which bicycle travel is so popular. If you want to go somewhere, you can just hop on your bike and the many cycle-friendly routes of the cities will help you to your destination. Even the Prime Minister of the country reportedly cycles to work, just like everyone else.

 For students, it is visible in the higher age groups enrolling on courses. In Holland, it is perfectly acceptable to change your mind and return to studies later on. There is no upper age limit when it comes to expanding your mind in Holland.

 Starting young

From a very young age, the Dutch are happy. In fact, Unicef found Dutch children to be the happiest in the world in 2013. The factors observed being material wellbeing, health and safety, education, behaviours and risks, and housing and environment.

 It really does seem that high levels of happiness begin in childhood where structured learning isn’t introduced until around aged 6. Children aren’t under pressure in the same way that their European counterparts are pressurised from an early age to pass exams. And arguably, if parents are happy, as the World Happiness Index reports, their children will be happy too.

 How can Holland’s happiness levels influence your studies?

Studying in Holland is bound to be an exciting experience. Wherever you choose to study in Holland, odds are that you will encounter some of the happiest people in the world.

 The Dutch mindset in combination with an appreciation of education and a modern approach to the work-life balance are all factors which may make studying in Holland an even more positive experience.

 Knowing that you’re studying in one of the happiest countries on the planet is sure to give reassurance to you as you embark on your course and see you continue to thrive there.


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