Why the Netherlands is one of the happiest countries in the world

According to the 2024 World Happiness Report, the Netherlands is the sixth happiest country in the world. The TopDutch region attracts some of the brightest talent from across the globe thanks to our strong economy, quality institutions and the opportunity to live a healthy, balanced and prosperous life.


The World Happiness Report - a partnership of Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network – is one of the authoritative voices measuring quality of life across the world. Every year, the researchers ask around 100,000 people from each of the 130 countries ranked to think of a ladder with the best possible life for them being a 10 and the worst possible life being a 0. They are then asked to rate their own current lives on that 0 to 10 scale. Based on the answers from 2021-2023, the 2024 rankings were made.

The rankings are based solely on the population’s individual life evaluations, but the researchers have found six factors that could explain a lot of the differences between countries’ happiness. Those are: GDP per capita in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), healthy life expectancy at birth, perceptions of social support, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption. The Netherlands stands out among comparative countries for Netherlands offers consistent well-being across different age groups, making it an ideal choice for young expats, experienced talent, their children and their dependents. Here’s five reasons why TopDutch’ers are among the happiest populations in the world.

1. Economic prosperity: A stable foundation

With a GDP per capita (PPP) of around $74,500 in 2022, according to the most recent data of the World Bank, Dutch people have some of the highest economic living standards in the world. Thanks to its strategic location in Europe, excellent infrastructure, and a skilled workforce, the Netherlands beckons businesses. From tech startups to multinational corporations, companies and talent find stability and growth here. Plus, the Dutch entrepreneurial spirit naturally fuels innovation.

2. More healthy years

The TopDutch region is Europe’s reference region for healthy ageing. We host more scientific and applied research of genetic implications and lifestyle interventions to extend the human lifespan with healthy years than any other region. For example Lifelines is the region’s unique research cohort and biobank, which performs the largest and longest intergenerational healthy ageing research in the world. Our world-renowned healthcare system includes the top-100 University Medical Center Groningen, producing both leading scientific research and leading medical practitioners.

3. Freedom to flourish

The TopDutch spirit thrives on individual autonomy. Here, you’ll find a powerful balance between personal freedom and collective responsibility. Employees enjoy the liberty to express themselves, innovate, and contribute to their organizations. And with one of the strongest start-up ecosystems in Europe, entrepreneurs are supported to make their visions a reality.

4. Quality institutions

The researchers behind the World Happiness Report find correlation between the trust a nation has in their institutions and happiness. And in the Netherlands there’s plenty to be proud of. TopDutch’ers benefit from a well-established legal framework, transparent regulations, and efficient public institutions that facilitate business creation and growth. And thanks to our culture of internationalization and multilingualism, its easy for international businesses to participate in them too.

5. Life in balance

The TopDutch region has always had a healthy attitude to work/life balance. We know that quality down-time is an important contributor to better productivity. Our inherently open-minded culture, cosmopolitan cities mixed with tranquil countryside, and stable economy has made our country a welcoming and comfortable place to live and work. The city of Groningen, in the TopDutch region, continuously ranks among the top cities worldwide for quality of living.

Who else is smiling?

Here’s the top-10 happiest countries worldwide, according to the World Happiness Report 2024:

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Sweden
  5. Israel
  6. The Netherlands
  7. Norway
  8. Luxembourg
  9. Switzerland
  10. Australia

Note: Happiness research reveals that the Netherlands offers consistent well-being across different age groups, making it an ideal choice for your diverse workforce.