Labor opportunity helped Netherlands move up to world's 5th happiest country
The 2021 World Happiness Report named the Netherlands as the fifth happiest country in the world, one spot higher than in 2020 and 2019. This year the United Nations study focused specifically on the effects of the pandemic on the quality of people’s lives.
A possible explanation for the happiness of the Dutch against all odds lies in the flexibility of many professions in the Netherlands, said Dimitris Ballas, Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Groningen, to NL Times.
People in the Netherlands possibly had better opportunities to work from home in the first place. This means the pandemic impacted their profession less heavily and gave people fewer worries that could take away from their happiness.
“I think working from home may have been easier in the Netherlands compared to other countries”, Ballas said. "It is also relevant to note here that the broadband infrastructure and speed may be much better compared to other countries in the database."
In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report released in December 2020, the Netherlands was named one of the countries expected to recover fastest from the pandemic. The report was based on factors such as flexible working arrangements, digital skills, access to healthcare, collaborations in health care and sustainable energy schemes.
Especially when it came to flexible working arrangements, the Netherlands scored highest amongst the 37 countries included in the report.
The World Happiness Report showed that particularly in spring of last year, worries and anxiety about the pandemic ran high but began to subside with time. The study indicated that the Netherlands was one of the countries where fear of catching the coronavirus was the lowest.
The Netherlands is preceded only by Finland, Iceland, Denmark and Switzerland in the World Happiness Report. In 2021, Finland claimed first place as the happiest country in the world for the fourth year in a row.
The 20 Happiest Countries in 2021
- New Zealand
- United States
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom