Happy Nations #5: Netherlands

Here is how the Netherlands compares to the United States in each of the six factors for Happiness:

  • GDP: 1.945 v 1.982
  • Social Support: 1.206 v 1.182
  • Healthy Life Expectancy: 0.787 v 0.628
  • Freedom to Make Life Choices: 0.651 v 0.574
  • Generosity: 0.271 v 0.220
  • Perceptions of Corruption: 0.419 v 0.177

As we enter the top five, we find our most generous nation.

Other Scoring Systems

A solid performance all-around. Not tops anywhere, but nothing to raise an eyebrow at.

Health Care

The Netherlands is #5 in Quality of Care and #3 Overall, and #11 in Health Security.

The Dutch health care system shares many standard features with Germany’s. It is a system of “managed competition,” in which multiple private insurers compete for market share based on price and quality.

Anyone living or working in the Netherlands must obtain basic-level health insurance (with or without additional coverage) from a Dutch provider.

Their parent’s insurance automatically covers under-18s, and health care allowances are in place for the lowest earners to access mandatory insurance.

The uninsured are fined, and their insurance premiums may be levied directly from their income. People who conscientiously object to insurance can opt out by making mandatory contributions into a health savings account.


Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and also its largest city. The climate does not change too dramatically as it is smaller than West Virginia.

Amsterdam is nearly identical to Dublin, Ireland. Windy, narrow bands of temperatures, and relatively little snow.

Cost of Living

The Netherlands generally is less expensive to live in than the United States.

However, comparing Saint Louis, MO, to Amsterdam, we see it will cost 10% more to live in Amsterdam.


The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, spoken by almost everyone in the Netherlands. However, the country also is #1 in English language proficiency, with over 93% of the country speaking English.

Acceptance of Others

Netherlands has a relatively positive acceptance of LGBTI+; 59% of the Dutch think the government effectively combats prejudice.

The Netherlands, however, does have a sense of being closed off from immigrants. Only 12% think immigration is strengthening the country. Furthermore, they ranked 9th in a survey on trust, life satisfaction, and opinions on immigration in 15 European countries.

Ethnic minorities still face racism in the Netherlands.

Moving Feasibility

The Netherlands has many of the exact visa requirements that we have seen in other countries on this list. I will skip over these and look at the Dutch American Friendship Treaty.

The treaty allows US Entrepreneurs to acquire Dutch residency to start a business.

  • You must be specialized in a field.
  • You must have personal work experience.
  • You must have a business plan.
  • You must be able to invest at least €4500 in the Dutch economy.

This sounds like the most realistic scenario yet.


The Netherlands looks like a similar option to Ireland, with perhaps a much more accessible entry point. However, I wish it were warmer and I didn’t have to learn a new language.

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