The Dutch love international rankings. Make a study of the newspaper headlines and it is amazing how often you will see ‘The Netherlands is the 14th best place to do business’ or ‘Dutch dogs are the best behaved in the world.’
Here is a short list of 10.
Number 1: Most expensive royals
The Dutch royal family has overtaken that of Britain to become the most expensive in western Europe, according to annual research by a Belgian professor. In total, queen Beatrix and her children cost the Netherlands €39.4m a year, including €18m in personal costs but excluding security. (Herman Matthijs, 2012)
Number 1: Happiest teenagers
Young Dutch teenagers are the most satisfied with life in Europe. They do not feel pressured by school, can talk to their parents and feel they have enough friends (World Health Organisation 2012)
Number 2: Freedom of the press
The Netherlands is in second place behind Finland in rankings on the freedom of the press. Bottom of the list are Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan. (Reporters without Borders, 2013)
Number 2: Pension systems
Denmark has overtaken the Netherlands to lead in a ranking of 18 of the world’s best pension systems by human resources consultancy Mercer. (Mercer, 2012)
Number 2: Traffic congestion
The Netherlands is the second most congested country in Europe, with drivers spending an average 53 hours a year stuck in jams. Belgium tops the list and Britain is in third place. (Inrix, 2012)
Number 4: Happiest people
The Dutch are among the fourth happiest people in the world behind the Danes, Fins and Norwegians. (World Happiness Report, 2012). Given the children are the happiest, this would imply something goes wrong when the Dutch reach adulthood.
Number 5: Food security
Food in the Netherlands is easily available, affordable and of good quality, placing the country in fifth place on a new ranking of 105 countries in terms of ‘food security’. (Economist Intelligence Unit, 2012)
Number 5: International competitiveness
The Netherlands has overtaken Germany and the US to reach fifth place in the latest edition of a global ranking of the most internationally competitive economies. (World Economic Forum, 2012). There are loads of these competitiveness indices – all competing to be the best.
Number 8: good shops
Amsterdam’s PC Hooftstraat is 8th in a ranking of 16 luxury shopping streets worldwide, with a 4th place for its ‘welcome’ and 15th for its attractiveness. Top of the list is Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, followed by Calle Serrano in Madrid and Bagdat Avenue in Istanbul (Telegraaf, no source, 2008). Okay. This one is a little old and isn’t properly sourced but the idea of the good old PC being so well-thought of internationally is too good to leave out.
And three not to be proud of:
The Netherlands dropped three places to 21st out of 25 in the latest relative clean energy technology ranking based on its approach to wind turbines, solar panels, solar cells and electronics in 25 important economies. (Worldwide Fund for Nature, 2012)
The Netherlands dropped three places to 28th in the latest Global Peace Index. Points are given for a number of developments, such as the number of armed conflicts, but also for the amount of crime, weapons export and the size of the armed forces. (Volkskrant, no source, 2012). Given the Netherlands does its best to avoid taking an active role in international conflicts and it is cutting back on the size of its army, we expect this is to do with weapon’s exports.
Women in top jobs
The number of women in senior management functions in Dutch companies fell to 11% in 2013, placing the Netherlands just above bottom-ranked Japan and United Arab Emirates. (Grant Thornton, 2013) But then, the Dutch are the fourth happiest people in the world, so does it matter?