The Netherlands drops four places in ranking of expat destinations worldwide

The Netherlands drops four places in ranking of expat destinations worldwide

While still achieving a fairly respectable 26th place overall, the Netherlands has dropped four places in the latest edition of the Expat Insider Survey, one of the largest rankings of its kind of expat destinations around the world. 

InterNations Expat Insider 2024 Survey

The Expat Insider Survey, put together every year by the expat network InterNations, looks at how more than 12.000 expats from 175 different countries around the world view their adopted homes. This year, 53 different expat destinations were included in the survey and ranked according to the quality of life they offer. 

The ranking brings together insights across a range of elements of expat life, from safety and security to the ease of settling in. As ever, the 56 factors assessed in the survey were split into five key indexes, with the results then brought together to form the overall ranking. The five indexes are: 

  • Quality of Life Index (which looks at leisure options, travel, healthcare, security and environment) 
  • Ease of Settling in Index (culture, friendliness and ease of making friends)
  • Working Abroad Index (career prospects, salary and job security, and work culture and satisfaction)
  • Personal Finance Index (cost of living, satisfaction with financial situation)
  • Expat Essentials Index (digital life, housing and local language)

This year, Panama has unseated Mexico to take the top spot in the ranking, with Mexico slipping down to second. The top five is rounded out by Indonesia, Spain and Colombia, places where expats all report being satisfied with their lives. Interestingly, countries like Norway and Finland, which are regularly praised for their quality of life, are to be found in the bottom 10, ranking 48th and 51st, respectively. 

The Netherlands has good work prospects, but housing and healthcare let it down

This year the Netherlands has slipped slightly down the ranking, moving from 22nd place in 2023 to 26th place in 2024. However, it still beat out the likes of Switzerland, Sweden and Canada. As ever, the survey brought in a mixed bag of results, with expats speaking highly of certain aspects of life in the Netherlands, including working conditions and digital offerings, but remaining highly critical of the Dutch healthcare system and the housing market

The Netherlands pulled in its best scores on the Working Abroad and Expat Essentials Indexes. It achieved a second-place ranking in the digital life category, meaning that expats are very satisfied with the availability of online services, the option to pay cashless, and the ease of setting up high-speed internet. A top-five score in the admin topics category also shows that expats spoke highly of their experiences getting a visa, dealing with local bureaucracy and opening a bank account in the Netherlands

On top of this, expats expressed satisfaction with their experiences working in the Netherlands, stating that their working hours afforded a good work-life balance, and praising their job security and salaries. Overall, the Netherlands achieved a top-three result in the work culture & satisfaction category. 

However, the Netherlands’ overall performance was pulled down by below-average scores in three categories in particular: housing (where it ranked 49th), finding friends (44th), and healthcare (44th). This shows that survey respondents were critical of the affordability of housing and the ease of finding accommodation, as well as the affordability, availability and quality of medical care. These are two gripes that most internationals in the Netherlands will be very familiar with. 

The best and worst countries in the world for expats in 2024

According to the Expat Insider Survey 2024, these are the top five expat destinations in the world: 

  1. Panama
  2. Mexico
  3. Indonesia
  4. Spain
  5. Colombia

The expat destinations that performed worst in the 2024 ranking are: 

  • 49. Canada
  • 50. Germany
  • 51. Finland
  • 52. Turkey
  • 53. Kuwait

For more information about the Expat Insider Survey, visit the InterNations website.

Abi Carter


Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

Read more



Leave a comment