The Netherlands again in top 10 of World Happiness Report

The Netherlands remains in a respectable seventh place in the World Happiness Report. While the Dutch did not move up or down the global happiness list compared to last year, in both 2012 and 2013 they placed slightly higher on the list with fourth place.

The World Happiness Report is a survey of the state of global happiness issued by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The 2016 edition was released in the run-up to the annual UN World Happiness Day that falls on March 20.

New happiest place on earth

While Switzerland took top honours in 2015, this year Denmark can call itself the happiest country on planet Earth. As usual with these types of lists, Northern and Western European countries are well-represented, along with Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Scientific definition of happiness

It is now almost four years since the publication of the first World Happiness Report which set out to survey the scientific underpinnings of measuring and understanding subjective well-being.

Quantifying happiness

The main analysis is based on individual life evaluations, where people are asked to put a value on their level of general happiness, from 0 to 10. Zero represents the worst possible life, and 10 the best possible life.

In addition to the life evaluations, six factors are considered for each country: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption. 

Measuring inequality worldwide

A key focus this year is on the inequality of happiness within and among countries around the world. The report argues that inequality of well-being provides a broader measure of equality than is provided by measures of inequality in the distribution of income and wealth.

The World Happines Report top 10

1) Denmark
2) Switzerland
3) Iceland
4) Norway
5) Finland
6) Canada
7) The Netherlands
8) New Zealand
9) Australia
10) Sweden

The top 10 least happy countries

148) Madagascar
149) Tanzania
150) Liberia
151) Guinea
152) Rwanda
153) Benin
154) Afghanistan
155) Togo
156) Syria
157) Burundi

Thomas Lundberg


Thomas Lundberg

Born as a Swede in the Netherlands, this life-long expat has spent his time in Belgium, the United States and Amsterdam. He began his professional career as a regional news...

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