The Netherlands one of the most sustainable destinations for expats

The Netherlands one of the most sustainable destinations for expats

The Netherlands has secured a spot in the top 15 most sustainable destinations around the world for expats, according to new data released by InterNations.

InterNations’ Environment & Sustainability Ranking

In the first-ever Environment and Sustainability Ranking published by InterNations - a network of expats around the world - the Netherlands has been ranked 12th out of 60 destinations for expats when it comes to sustainable living.

The data for the ranking was gathered via InterNations’ annual Expat Insider Survey, one of the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in which participants were asked to rate, on a scale of one to seven, their personal satisfaction in eight separate areas: air quality, the natural environment, water and sanitation, the availability of green goods and services, energy supply, local waste management and recycling infrastructure. The rating also covers perception of local government support for environmental policies and how invested the local population is in environmental issues.

Over 15.000 expats took part in the Expat Insider 2020, representing a total of 173 nationalities and living in 181 different countries or territories. For a country to be included in the ranking, a sample size of at least 75 respondents was necessary - this year, 60 countries met this requirement. The survey covers a number of issues, including making friends as an expat and the best cities around the world for expats.

The Netherlands as a sustainable expat destination

With its spot as number 12 out of 60 countries around the world, the Netherlands has beaten the likes of France (17th), the United Kingdom (28th), the United States (30th) and Italy (32nd). 

Source: Internations InterNations Environment & Sustainability Ranking 2020

The Netherlands performed well overall, but performed best in in the products and utilities category (ranking 9th), with 82 percent of respondents expressing their satisfaction with the availability of green goods, services and energy - significantly higher than the global average of 63 percent. 

Three-quarters of survey respondents felt that the Dutch government was supportive of environmental policies (77 percent vs the global average of 55 percent). The country also ranks highly when it comes to air quality (18th), and water and sanitation (9th).

One category in which the country lacks is quality of the natural environment, ranking 46th when it comes to its local environment. 13 percent of respondents found the natural environment in the Netherlands lacking, which may sound low, but is still four percent above the global average (9 percent). 

The most sustainable countries in the world

Many of the world's most sustainable countries can be found in Europe. The top 15 sustainable destinations for expats are as follows:

  1. Finland
  2. Sweden
  3. Norway
  4. Austria
  5. Switzerland
  6. Denmark
  7. New Zealand
  8. Germany
  9. Canada 
  10. Luxembourg
  11. Taiwan 
  12. The Netherlands
  13. Portugal 
  14. Estonia
  15. Costa Rica

The least sustainable countries in the world

From worst to best, the bottom 10 countries when it comes to sustainability are:

  1. India 
  2. Kuwait
  3. Egypt 
  4. Indonesia
  5. Vietnam
  6. Thailand
  7. Philippines
  8. Kenya
  9. Malta
  10. Hong Kong

To find more information about the Expat Insider survey, visit the InterNations website.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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