Dutch Kids Ranked Happiest in the World

Dutch Kids Ranked Happiest in the World

Dutch children are the happiest in the world, according to a new report released by UNICEF.

The Netherlands, along with four Nordic countries – Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – top a United Nations report released today, which ranks children’s well-being in 29 industrialized countries, while Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain are at the bottom.

The Child Well-Being in Rich Countries: A Comparative Overview, the second report of this kind done by UNICEF, covers children up to age 19. The first one was released in 2007 and looked at a variety of indicators in areas ranging from health to education using data from 2000 to 2003. The 2013 report looks at figures from 2009 to 2010.

The study measures development according to five dimensions of children’s lives – material well-being, health and safety, education, behaviour and risks, and housing and environment.

The Netherlands retains its position as the clear leader and is the only country ranked among the top five countries in all dimensions of child well-being.

The Netherlands is also the clear leader when well-being is evaluated by children themselves – with 95% of its children rating their own lives above the mid- point of the Life Satisfaction Scale according to Unicef.

This is the second time Dutch children ranked happiest in the world. A previous study by UN Children UNICEF carried out in 2007, Dutch kids also ranked the happiest of all children in the world.

The Netherlands, Slovenia and Switzerland have the lowest rates of teenage births (below 5 per 1,000). The Netherlands has also a good ranking in the percentage of children who eat breakfast every day which exceed 80%.

Top 10 rankings of well-being of children in developed countries
1 Netherlands
2 Norway
3 Iceland
4 Finland
5 Sweden
6 Germany
7 Luxembourg
8 Switzerland
9 Belgium
10 Ireland

UNICEF says that it is important to hear what matters to children, and to do this in a more systematic way. “Children’s voices even at a very young age are vital,” said Mr. Alexander. According to him, “Governments need to guide policies in a way that will safeguard the long-term futures of their children and economies. This has never been more urgent than in today’s climate.”

  • “while Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain are at the bottom”??… Not true! These are the last 10: Hungary, Poland, Italy, Estonia, Slovakia, Greece, United States, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania

  • Lagli

    I prefer any another country than Netherland to my child…really!!!

  • Maria Pereira (France)

    Portugal is actually at the middle of the scale in 15th position.
    Not to say that that’s good enough but it’s very easy to label portugal, spain, etc… as countries who are bound to have a poor report card without so much as even looking at the actual report!

  • Katerina P.

    I was reading somewhere that 70% of the Dutch people have been eating the same breakfast for the pas 10 years. Eating breakfast doesn’t mean that the breakfast is healthy. And I am wondering how children can be so happy according to the report, while according to other reports bullying is something like a hobby in the Netherlands, so I guess that kids do not have so much fun at school do they?? Also, the ADHD phenomenon is also something that worries me, how come all these children have ADHD and at the same time be on medication an be happy? And why the ADHD cases are so many here? Do they really have ADHD or it is just that when they are a little bit more happy than what is considered “normaal” , and more energetic, daydreaming etc, they get the ADHD label?? I was just wondering…

  • Mickey

    @disqus_yuMMt6agL6:disqus : I wonder where you got all this information from. Also I wonder if you have really ever lived in The Netherlands. I think what you are saying is WAY over-exaggerated and you don’t even know what you are talking about! I am Dutch. I was NOT diagnosed with ADHD. Neither was anyone in my family. My two children are not diagnosed with it and I do not know anybody in their class or in our environment that is diagnosed as such. Maybe 15-20 years ago they were a little bit too fast sometimes with this “stamp” of ADHD, but today they surely aren’t!

    In our house, we do eat breakfast every day. And it is a lot healthier than American or English breakfast! No pancakes, no greasy stuff like baked sausages and such. It’s fruits and bread (only wheat, never white) or yoghurt or serials with milk or even a Japanese breakfast (as my wife is Japanese).

    About bullying: it happens EVERYWHERE in the world, not just in Holland! Don’t pretend it’s something “Dutch”! There is a lot done by our schools and even the government to do something about it. Can’t say that about lots of other countries!

    I am NOT amazed at all that Holland came out 1st for the second time. I do want my children to grow up here. But I also understand that it is up to the parents to make the children grow up healthy and happy, and this UNICEF report surely does not mean that EVERYBODY is happy here… 😉

  • Mickey

    Don’t know why it changed but the first sentence should have started with @ Katerina P.

  • Mickey

    Ow… Now it’s correct again… Strange…

  • Florin

    I’m a romanian, marketing person and I can tell you that this is the most big manipulation that I ever see in the last 2 years. 1. Which is the Co. how make the survey? Could we see the survey? 🙂 In my opinion has a correlation with the euthanasia low for ill children- Holland (politicians) needs a (very small) good image. I really don’t believe in any top of kids happiness. Shame to UNICEF!…and know ask some money :-).

  • Guest

    Based on what @lagli:disqus Lagli ?

  • Qwartel

    “In my opinion” … ah. Ok. Then it’s true…

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  • pepe_c

    Bla bla bla. Do you have a link for that report that claims that bullying is a national hobby?

  • pepe_c

    Do you see the word “report” in orange in the article? If you click on it you are directed to the Unicef website, where there is a link to download the full report:

  • Katerina P.

    Of course, you can put on Google “Nederland, pestland” and you will find the relevant article published on a Dutch newspaper, it was either De Telegraaf or Volkskrant, a few months ago. This was the title of the article. If you cannot trace it, let me know and I will look for the link for you.

  • Katerina P.
  • Katerina P.

    Hello Mickey, I live in the Netherlands for 3 years, and I am a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist. Your family, luckily, is an exception. And I guess that this is because your wife is Japanese. Most of the people do not even follow the basic hygiene rules, washing fruits and vegetables before consuming, washing hands before eating, eating healthy (like you do), I know people that give to their kids coffee to drink since the kids were 3 years old. Regarding bullying,I posted below as an answer to pepe_c below the article that was published a few months ago “Nederland, pestland”. It is from a Dutch newspaper. The situation is unfortunately very disappointing regarding this matter. I have lived in Finland also, I can assure you that it is not that bad. But I agree that they try to do something about it (not the schools, because the teachers play “blind”, but the goverment, yes”. There is a lot of bullying at work places, also.
    Again, regarding ADHD, just because your family was not diagnosed with it it doesn’t mean that it is not a phenomenon here in NL. I know way too many people, adults or parents, that are labeled with ADHD. I really do not know why, but if you lived in another country and you would compare to NL, you would then realise that they are too many.

  • pepe_c

    Those aren’t reports, but merely articles, apparently based on the same source. So do you have a link to a report, survey or study?

  • Katerina P.

    If you click on the link of De Telegraaf you will see that it says “Hoge aantallen; procentueel veel hoger dan in de rest van Europa, zo blijkt uit het European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS).”.

    You can also look around you, at schools, at work. This is why after all there is a whole show on tv where you can say that you have been bullied and they take action.

  • Katerina P.

    Example: http://www.saqi.nl/PestCijfers.aspx

    And keep in mind that if and when someone says something about your country that is not positive, is not to prove your country bad etc etc but because some things are what they are and if we see them and take action, we can make them much better.

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  • John

    Those negative reactions: jealous? First of all it doesn’t state that children in the netherlands are the happiest but that dutch children are the happiest. it is predominantly (besides education, healthcare, leisure time quality etc.) a cultural thing. dutch children feel happy because they have a healthy and open relationship with their parents (generally). They feel free to be happy and to communicate their ideas, thoughts, happiness, but also anxieties or basic questions on any topic including delicate topics or hard to discuss topics. We are also for instance the only country that grants children their own news bulletin on tv and internet every single day. There is a very low key hierarchy in dutch society and in dutch families. Result is that generally speaking dutch children feel safe, happy, wanted, equal and so on. generally(!!) ladies and gentleman!! NL is one of the better places to live according to this inquiry. What the exact nature of this inquiry is, is a very healthy question. Always. However it was UN initiated not dutch government initiated and i am pretty sure that dutch politicians have no influence whatsoever on a UN inquiry; what about the number two, three, four and so countries; have they also ‘bribed’ UN employees or researchers too? Sorry that the number one position in this ranking is the NL. Are their downsides to the dutch society. yes. are there cases of children that are very unhappy. of course. Still i am proud that the country i live in tops this ranking!! To top this ranking should be the goal of every nation. I wish you all a very nice day.

  • Martha

    Yes, also dutch children are bullied, like in the rest of the world. But it comes in the open and teachers and parents try to avoid it.

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  • Darby Mckaine

    Very well said!
    As an American living in the suburbs of an East Coast State, I feel our society could learn a lot from the dutch. Our children live under so much pressure everyday to continuously do better in every aspect of life. I have 4 children and personally I do not feel as though my children benefit in any way from the unneeded pressures and stress put on kids. I have to say, my husband and I do try to make time for family time as much as possible. We want our kids to grow up and have memories of our time spent together as a family, that they can cherish.
    And, in this crazy world that we live in, with our new crazy president, who is unpredictable and unhinged, we keep our children close and teach them the world can be a kind place if we all work together.
    Perhaps we will visit the Netherlands some day!

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