Dutch cities rate highly in quality of life

Many Dutch citizens are apparently very satisfied with their lives, according to a recent Eurobarometer survey by the European Commission "Perception of Quality of Life in European Cities."

Results from questioning 41.000 people in 79 cities across Europe showed that people living in Groningen are some of the most satisfied people in Europe, while Amsterdammers are among the most contented of those living in capital cities.

This has been reflected in previous surveys which have rated the quality of life in Amsterdam as being among the best in the world.

The European Cities survey examined various aspects of urban life, in particular public services. If found that healthcare, employment, education and training are the issues most people want their cities to deal with above all.

Overall, the survey found European citizens had a high level of satisfaction in almost every city. In around 90 per cent of the cities survey, at least 80 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied to be living in their city.

Happy people in Groningen

From all the cities surveyed, Groningen ranked equal third, behind Aalborg in Denmark and Hamburg in Germany, and equal to Zurich, Oslo and Copenhagen.

Nine of out 10 Groningen citizens are satisfied with available sports and cultural facilities and public space, while satisfaction with educational facilities and healthcare in Groningen is the highest in Europe.

Satisfaction ratings regarding air quality and noise pollution were also among the highest in the northern city, while nine out of 10 people were also very happy with their green spaces.

Lastly, Groningen also recorded high levels of trust of fellow citizens, with 90 per cent of respondents saying they could trust most of the people in their city.

Content citizens in Amsterdam

The capital city did not rate as highly as Groningen, it compared very favourably to other European capital cities.

Public transport

While Amsterdam did not have the very high levels of satisfaction with public transport that Rotterdam did (87 per cent), it did score well in comparison to other capital cities, coming fifth with 80 per cent.


Amsterdam is in general very satisfied with its sports facilities; the third happiest overall, in fact, while it is the fifth most satisfied with its cultural facilities and fourth most satisfied with public spaces.


Satisfaction with healthcare is very high in Amsterdam, with 88 per cent of the population saying it is happy with healthcare services, doctors and hospitals. It is in fact the second-most satisfied capital city in terms of healthcare.


Satisfaction with education is lower, but nonetheless 75 per cent of people responded positively. Satisfaction levels have, however, grown by 24 percentage points since an earlier survey in 2006, with similar increases in Groningen and Rotterdam, pointing to much increased satisfaction with the system.

Jobs in Amsterdam

Only 43 per cent of people said it was easy to find a job in Amsterdam, but that is still a relatively high number, as the figure for Athens shows, where only five per cent of people agreed with this statement.

Housing in Amsterdam

Satisfaction with housing was also high, with 88 per cent of people saying it was easy to find a house in Amsterdam at a reasonable price.


Eighty per cent of people in Amsterdam said the presence of foreigners was good for the city, but only 52 per cent said they thought foreigners had integrated well.

Public safety

Amsterdam came seventh in the list of cities where people felt safe, with 84 per cent of respondents reporting positively, while 88 per cent of people said they felt safe in their neighbourhood.

Levels of trust in people were lower, with 69 per cent of people saying that most people in the city could be trusted. Nonetheless, Amsterdam was the sixth city overall. Levels of trust in neighbours were higher, at 80 per cent.

For more information, read the full report.

Overall satisfaction

Aalborg (DK) 99%
Hamburg (DE) 98%
Groningen (NL) 97%
Copenhagen (DK) 97%
Oslo (NO) 97%
Zurich (CH) 97%
Amsterdam (NL) 96%
Cluj-Napoca (RO) 96%
Graz (AT) 96%
Leipzig (DE) 96%
Malaga (ES) 96%
Oulu (FI) 96%
Reykjavik (IS) 96%
Rostock (DE) 96%
Stockholm (SE) 96%

Satisfaction in capital cities    

Copenhagen 97%
Amsterdam 96%
Stockholm 96%
Vienna 95%
Luxembourg 95%
Berlin 93%
Vilnius 93%
Zagreb 92%
Helsinki 92%
Lisbon 92%
Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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