Drenthe, not Randstad, most prosperous place in Netherlands

Noord-Drenthe is the most prosperous region in the Netherlands, according to the Broad Prosperity Indicator by Rabobank and Utrecht University. Residents of Noord-Drenthe are happy, healthy and feel safe. Gooi also scored very well. People living in the Randstad are much less satisfied, ANP reports.

The researchers looked at several factors that determine wellbeing, including job security, education, health, environment, security and happiness. "We researched how people experience prosperity", historian Bas van Bavel of Utrecht University said to broadcaster NOS. "Economic growth is important in that, but not all-important."

Noord-Drenthe scored very well because residents are generally very satisfied with their living situation. Gooi scored well because of the above average income and low unemployment rate in the region. 

Prosperity, as the researchers measured it, fell behind the economic growth. The researchers attribute this mainly to increased flexibility on the labor market, which creates more uncertainty among workers. "You see after the crisis that economic growth recovered, but not broad prosperity" Van Bavel said to NOS. "People are often dissatisfied with their living situation and afraid that they will lose their job due to the increased flexibility on the labor market."

These factors play a major role in the Randstad. Amsterdam scored poorly in the area of housing, due to high rents and home prices. Rotterdam scored poorly when it came to job security. In the big cities in particular, prosperity fell behind the economic growth. Despite the growing economy, residents of the Randstad often feel unsafe and insecure about their living situation. 

All in all, the province of Zuid-Holland ranked lowest in the area of broad prosperity - lower than regions like northeast Groningen and south Limburg, areas regularly in the news due to fracking earthquakes and crime respectively.