The Netherlands has the second-highest wellbeing in the EU

The Netherlands has the second-highest wellbeing in the EU

The Netherlands has got the second-highest standard of wellbeing in the EU, according to new data from Statistics Netherlands (CBS). The country was only beaten by Sweden, with Croatia, the EU’s newest member, in last place. 

EU ranking focused on broad prosperity and wellbeing

The ranking, which compared all 27 EU nations, used 23 key indicators of wealth, welfare and personal growth to rate each country's standard of wellbeing, CBS said. The Netherlands scored well in 14 out of 23 indicators, with the country comparing especially well for the indicator “trust in one’s fellow citizens”. On the other hand, the Netherlands also struggled on two other indicators, scoring lower than many other countries for “housing ratio” and “healthy life expectancy for women”. 

The comparisons focused on the “broad prosperity” of people living in the EU 27, specifically the broad prosperity here and now, as opposed to the opportunities for future generations or the accomplishments or failures of generations past. The 23 indicators that were used to compare the countries were grouped into themes, with the Netherlands being ranked as the best country in the EU in the work and leisure categories.

Sweden, the Netherlands and Ireland come out on top

According to the ranking, the three countries in the EU with the highest broad prosperity in the here and now are Sweden, the Netherlands, Ireland and Austria. All four countries stood out for their indicators in the health and leisure themes, alongside Denmark, which came fifth overall. 

The study also looked at how often people have contact with friends, family or neighbours - the Netherlands ranked highly for this indicator, with 74,6 percent of people in the Netherlands contacting their loved ones at least once a week. By contrast in Hungary, the country which came last for this indicator, only 19,8 percent of people contact their family, friends or neighbours once per week. 

Hungary, as well as several other former-communist 2004 EU entrants like Poland, came close to the bottom of the overall ranking. Other countries in the south of Europe that have less strong economies such as Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy also ranked lower in the comparison. 

EU countries by broad prosperity in 2024

According to the data, the EU countries ranked by broad prosperity in the here and now are as follows:

  • 1. Sweden
  • 2. The Netherlands
  • 3. Ireland
  • 4. Austria
  • 5. Denmark
  • 6. Finland
  • 7. Luxembourg
  • 8. Germany
  • 9. Malta
  • 10. Estonia
  • 11. France
  • 12. Belgium
  • 13. Cyprus
  • 14. Slovenia
  • 15. Czechia
  • 16. Portugal
  • 17. Latvia
  • 18. Italy
  • 19. Lithuania
  • 20. Spain
  • 21. Hungary
  • 22. Romania
  • 23. Bulgaria
  • 24. Poland
  • 25. Greece
  • 26. Slovakia 
  • 27. Slovenia

For the full press release, see the website of Statistics Netherlands (CBS)

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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