The Netherlands is Europe’s most dangerous place to live

The Netherlands is Europe’s most dangerous place to live

Because large parts of the Netherlands are below sea level, it’s the most vulnerable country in Europe in the case of a natural disaster, according to the most recent World Risk Report.

Worldwide, the Dutch rank 50th in the 2015 World Risk Index, a study that was conducted by United Nations University, the Institute for Environment and Human Security. The report focuses on where natural hazards coincide with a vulnerable or ill-prepared infrastructure.

Vulnerable to high sea levels

Out of the world’s "most exposed" countries, the Netherlands rank 12th. But while the low-lying nation is vulnerable due to its location, the Dutch are very well-prepared for when the sea turns against them.

Despite the fact that geographic reasons make the Netherlands a potentially dangerous place to live, the country would have ranked much worse were it not for the extensive safety measures against flooding that the Dutch built in the last 100 years.

Dutch preparedness for natural disasters

Dutch engineers have constructed a vast system of dikes, surge barriers and the Delta Works in order to keep the North Sea at bay, and invest significant amounts of money in their infrastructure.

Not only that, the Dutch expertise with water management and flood prevention has become an export product, assisting countries such as the United States in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

History’s lessons

That the Netherlands can be prone to natural disasters is clear from the 1916 floods and the 1953 North Sea flooding disaster that claimed many lives. Those events made the Dutch invest heavily in infrastructure to prevent similar natural disasters from happening again.

Top 10 most vulnerable countries

These are the 10 most dangerous countries to live in according to the 2015 World Risk Report:
1) Vanuatu
2) Tonga
3) Philippines
4) Guatemala
5) Solomon Islands
6) Bangladesh
7) Costa Rica
8) Cambodia
9) Papua New Guinea
10) El Salvador

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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