Netherlands ranked 4th in Good Country Index

The Netherlands has been ranked fourth globally in a new index that aims to measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away.

Using information from 35 reliable datasets from the UN and other international organisations, the Good Country Index gives each country a balance sheet to show whether it is more on the side of being a "net creditor to mankind"or a "burden on the planet."

The Good Country Index

The compilers of the index takes pains to point out they are not making moral judgements on countries: rather that by Good Country they mean a country that contributes to the greater good of humanity.

The index only surveys a country’s external actions, not what they do at home. The authors argue that there are already many surveys that cover a country’s treatment of its citizens, while they are attempting to measure what a nation’s effect on the rest of the world is.

To do this they have created categories in Science and Technology, Culture, International Peace and Security, World Order, Planet and Climate, Prosperity and Equality, and Health and Wellbeing.

Each country is ranked in each section, which is then added up to make the overall rankings. In these, Ireland is first, followed by Finland, Switzerland and the Netherlands, with New Zealand rounding out the top five.

The bottom five countries are Angola, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Vietnam and, lastly, Libya.

The Netherlands as a Good Country

Within its overall ranking of fourth, the Netherlands has some higher and lower scores.

Its two highest scores were both second place in Culture, measuring (among others) creative goods and services exported, press freedom and UNESCO dues, and Health and Wellbeing, measuring food and humanitarian aid, pharmaceutical exports and donations to WHO.

It was ranked third in World Order, measuring charity giving, refugees hosted and created, and UN treaties signed. It came eighth in Prosperity and Equality, which measured developmental assistance, open trading, UN volunteers and fairtrade market size.

The Netherlands scored middling well at 18th in Science and Technology, which looked at numbers of international students, international publications and Nobel prizes.

Its rank for Planet and Climate, measuring hazardous waste exports and CO2 and other gas emissions, was lower at 23.

Where the country ranked very poorly was in International Peace and Security, which examined peacekeeping troops, international violent conflicts, arms exports and internet security. Here the Netherlands was ranked 97.

Purpose of the Good Country Index

According to the index’s creator Simon Anholt, an independent policy advisor and recipient of 2009 Nobels Colloquia Prize for Economics, the concept of the "Good Country" is all about encouraging populations and their governments to be more outward looking, and to consider the international consequences of their national behaviour.

"It’s no longer enough to provide prosperity, growth, justice and peace to one population alone: the international consequences of every action must be considered. Economic growth is a good thing, but not if it’s at the cost of the environment or the wellbeing of another country or species.

"Competition between nations is increasingly looking like a dangerous idea. It’s up to us to tell these things to our politicians, and the Good Country Index can help get the message across."

Top 10 Good Countries

1. Ireland
2. Finland
3. Switzerland
4. Netherlands
5. New Zealand
6. Sweden
7. United Kingdom
8 Norway
9. Denmark
10. Belgium

For more, visit the Good Country Index.

Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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