Expat Survey

How does the Netherlands rate in the Global Expat Survey?

Ever wondered which country has the best work-life balance? Which is the best for raising children? Or which is the friendliest towards foreigners? And just how does the Netherlands compare in the global rankings?

Expat Insider – one of the largest expat surveys in the world – has been released, offering an in-depth analysis of more than 60 countries, presenting the views of over 14,000 respondents. Here’s a brief round-up of the results:

Where you should be living: Top Expat Destinations in 2016:

  1. Taiwan
  2. Malta
  3. Ecuador
  4. Mexico
  5. New Zealand

And where you should you think twice about living: Worst Expat Destinations in 2016:

  1. Kuwait
  2. Greece
  3. Nigeria
  4. Brazil
  5. Saudi Arabia

Here’s a surprising one for you: Italy ranked in the top 10 worst places to live overall, and faring only marginally better was Ireland.

The Netherlands came in at a solid 30th best country in which to live as an expat (out of 67 countries).

So what does the Netherlands do well?

As much as we (I) grumble about train cancellations, wisselstorings or packed metros, the Netherlands actually does pretty well in the transport department, being ranked 10th in the world (top performers were Singapore, Hong Kong, and Austria).

Personal happiness is lacking however: it came out at a very sad 51st place in the rankings. The warmer climes seemed to perform much better in the happiness stakes, with Costa Rica snapping the top spot, followed by Malta and Mexico. Surprisingly, Ireland, came in third from the bottom on the happiness scale; the respondents obviously not drinking enough Guinness.

Interestingly, leisure options were pretty low for the Netherlands, it was ranked at 55. You might think with all the water and cycle routes, beaches and dunes, it would have received a higher score. Spain did well in this category, coming second to Malta which scored the top spot.

But rest assured, the Netherlands is a safe country, according to the survey! Rated 12th safest in the world for expats in fact. Brazil was rated the least safe, followed by Nigeria and South Africa.

Quality of Life Index 2016Work and Career: Your job is safe here, but it might not lead to great things!

Overall, the Netherlands scored 20th for working abroad. Job security is strong, according to the Index, ranking the Netherlands in 14th place. In terms of job and career opportunities though, you’d be better off moving to Taiwan, Mexico, Malta, Romania, Vietnam, Luxembourg, the UK, USA, Hungary, Ecuador, Australia, Poland, Bahrain…. or 25 other countries in the list. But avoid Greece on this one. And Italy.

When it comes to the famous work-life balance –  for which the Dutch receive much praise – there are still 23 other countries which ranked higher, with Norway claiming the top spot.

Working Abroad Index 2016
Have lots of children here – the Netherlands has you covered!

If you’ve moved your family here or are considering staying and raising a hybrid Dutch family, this may persuade/reassure you: the Netherlands was ranked as the 13th best country for family life (out of 45 countries for this particular Index). The quality of education was ranked 9th and the availability of childcare and education was ranked as 15th. You might need to tighten your purse strings though – the cost of childcare and education put the Netherlands in 26th place.

Family Life Index 2016
That old cliche that the Dutch are a frugal bunch when it comes to money?

Well, this could be the reason: the Netherlands was ranked as the 43rd most expensive country in which to live. Ukraine, Thailand and Taiwan came out on top. Switzerland, Hong Kong and Nigeria were the most expensive.


Personal Finance & Cost of Living Indices 2016Overall, there is definitely room for improvement with the Netherlands being placed 30th in the global ranking. Perhaps if they added a food ranking to the survey, or quality of customer service ranking, we’d be right up there on top with the best of them. Grapje 😉

View the full survey results from Internations here.


Top Expat Destinations 2016 — infographic

Sarah Fencott