The Netherlands offers a great working life but is unfriendly and expensive, expats say
After coming in a very respectable 33rd place in 2021, this year’s edition of the Expat Insider Survey saw the Netherlands rise through the ranking to come in 22nd place, beating the likes of Germany, Sweden, and Luxembourg.
InterNations Expat Insider 2022 Survey
Published annually by InterNations - a network of expats living in countries around the world - the Expat Insider Survey analyses the insights of around 12.000 respondents in order to determine expat quality of life in 52 countries across the globe. The survey examines a variety of topics across five key categories:
- Quality of Life Index (leisure options, safety & security, public transport, etc.)
- Ease of Settling In Index (language, friendliness, etc.)
- Working Abroad Index (career prospects, job security, etc.)
- Personal Finance Index
- Expat Essentials Index (languages, internet, housing, etc)
Taiwan and Mexico have once again managed to claim two of the top three spots, while Indonesia rose into second place. All three countries ranked extremely high in both the Ease of Settling In and Personal Finance categories. Meanwhile, Kuwait once again came in last place, with New Zealand and Hong Kong rounding out the bottom three, largely as a result of their performances in the Personal Finance category.
Expats criticise Dutch housing market and healthcare system
The Netherlands achieved mixed results in this year’s survey. While the country was ranked as one of the top five destinations in the Working Abroad Index, it achieved below-average scores in the Personal Finance and Ease of Settling In categories. Expats also highlighted a number of issues they faced living in the Netherlands, most notably the sub-par healthcare system, the inaccessibility of the Dutch housing market, and the unfriendliness of locals.
25 percent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with the quality of healthcare services in the Netherlands. Similarly, the country came in 49th place when it came to housing, with 53 percent of expats complaining it was difficult to find housing and 69 percent stating it was hard to afford.
Finally, faced with a high inflation rate and rising prices, it’s unsurprising that the country performed poorly when it came to expat finances, with 46 percent of survey respondents saying they felt the cost of living was too high. 52 percent also complained that it was difficult to make friends with Dutch citizens, and only 63 percent of expats described the local population as generally friendly. “The Dutch interact much less with expats - most of my friends here are other expats,” one expat from the US explained.
The Netherlands remains a great place to work
While respondents picked out a number of issues when it came to their lives in the Netherlands, the results of the survey revealed that the Dutch business culture and the job opportunities in the Netherlands continue to make it a great country for work. 83 percent praised the flexibility of jobs in the Netherlands, and 73 percent agreed that the local work culture fostered creativity.
The country also achieved spots in the top 15 when it came to the local job market, job security, and working hours. 67 percent even said that relocating to the Netherlands had improved their career opportunities, and while respondents agreed that life was expensive, 77 percent felt that their salaries allowed them to live a comfortable life.
Finally, expats praised the country’s transportation system, with 90 percent saying they found it easy and safe to get around on foot or by bicycle, and 79 percent said it was easy to live in the country without speaking Dutch.