Netherlands residents less happy due to pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has put pressure on the happiness of Netherlands residents, according to a survey of a thousand Dutch people by Rabobank economists. According to them, it is therefore important that government policy stretches beyond the crisis' impact on public health and the economy, ANP reports.

The researchers asked Dutch people about their happiness and prosperity in eleven factors of life. At least three factors are clearly worse off than last year, Rabobank economist Rogier Aalders said to the news wire. 

Subjective wellbeing - how people feel - is under most pressure. About 29 percent of people surveyed said they were less happy than last year, while 23 percent said they were happier. That is a "significant decline" in people's subjective well being, the researchers said.

Netherlands residents also seem less happy with their living situation. "We have seen a decrease in housing satisfaction for some time. The crisis may have exacerbated this trend, for example because working from home places different demands on the home and people were more often at home with the whole family."

Social contacts are also under pressure due to limitations on physical contact during the lockdown. 

Despite these declines, Netherlands residents are still reasonably happy across the board. But Aalders stressed that the "first hairline cracks" are appearing and the problems could easily increase. "Our expectation is that unemployment will continue to rise in the course of this year as support measures expire. This puts further pressure on incomes and probably means that more people have insufficient income. We also know from the previous crisis that broad prosperity will be affected later than the economy."