The Netherlands still a great place for kids, but is lacking in certain key areas

The Netherlands still a great place for kids, but is lacking in certain key areas

The 2022 edition of the KidsRights Index sees the Netherlands rank in fourth place for the overall rights and well-being of children, but the report raises concerns about access to youth care and the quality of the local environment.

KidsRights Index 2022

Published annually by KidsRights and the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the index was designed to assess the extent to which children’s rights are respected and prioritised in countries around the world. 185 nations are included in the study, all of which are UN member states that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The index analyses the five key components of the convention: 

  • Right to life
  • Right to health
  • Right to education
  • Right to protection
  • Enabling environment for child rights

All 185 countries receive a score out of one for each of the five domains, with a country’s overall score calculated as the geometric average of these scores. This year sees Iceland once again reclaim the top spot with an overall score of 0,945, while Chad remains the lowest-scoring country at just 0,181.

2022 marks the 10th edition of the KidsRights index, highlighting that “there has been no significant progress in the standards of children’s lives over the last decade. Climate change has been named the biggest threat to children’s futures.  

The Netherlands offers poor air quality and access to youth care

This year’s edition of the KidsRights Index found that, overall, the Netherlands scores well in the field of children’s rights and remains a good place in which to start a family and raise children. The report did, however, find several areas in which there is room for improvement. 

While the Netherlands received a very respectable fourth-place ranking, performing well when it came to education, healthcare and protection, the country scored significantly lower in the right to health and environment domains (28th and 34-45th respectively). 

More specifically, the report points out that the Netherlands is one of the worst countries when it comes to air quality and pollution - a similar finding to a UNICEF report published earlier this year. The KidsRights Index specifically highlights that the high levels of air pollution, particularly nitrogen dioxide emissions from cars, means one in five children suffer from asthma - the highest figure recorded in any country in Europe. 

Furthermore, long wait times for youth care and mental health services - particularly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic - have also been highlighted as key reasons for the Netherlands dropping from third place to 37th in the Enabling environment for child rights domain.

Top 10 countries in the world for children's rights

According to the latest edition of the KidsRights Index, the top 10 countries in the world when it comes to children’s rights are: 

  1. Iceland - 0,945
  2. Sweden - 0,915
  3. Finland - 0,913
  4. The Netherlands - 0,910
  5. Germany - 0,909 
  6. Luxembourg - 0,905
  7. Denmark - 0,890
  8. Austria - 0,882
  9. Slovenia - 0,880
  10. Norway - 0,879

For more information about the ranking, visit the KidsRights 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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