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Is the Netherlands the best place to raise a family?

Great, you read my article on the Netherlands having the shortest working week in the world, and would now like to live and work in Holland. But, you’re still unsure whether the land of frikandel is the best place for you to settle and raise a family. Understandable. Let me calm your concerns with a few fun facts:


According to a recent study by UNICEF the Netherlands is the happiest country to be a child.


The UN children’s rights organisation conducted a study about academic, social skills, mental, and physical health of children aged 0-18 in the 41 wealthiest countries. Within these categories the research indicated that the Netherlands is the number one place to be a child. In contrast the United Kingdom placed 27th and the United States was in the bottom 3, ranking 36th.


Children in the Netherlands also ranked highest in life satisfaction, with an impressive 90% score. The study attributes access to quality education, physical activity, and strong support networks as the driving factors.


Plenty of physical activity when the canals freeze over!


Fully funded quality state education


Coming from England where it was common for the wealthy to send their children to expensive day cares and private schools, I was shocked to learn that they are rare in the Netherlands. Even the Tesla driving Dutchies from the affluent Het Gooi choose to send little Roderick to the gymnasium across the road. This is because day care and state schools are well funded and offer quality education for all.


16 weeks maternity leave with 100% of your earnings


Although not as generous as their Scandinavian neighbours, new mothers in the Netherlands are entitled to quality time with their new addition. Expectant mothers can take leave any moment from six weeks before their due date. Fathers however are not so fortunate and are only entitled to one week paid paternity leave.


The Dutch government partly bridges this gap through Ouderschapsverlof, permitting both parents to take parental leave based on their working hours. This is calculated by multiplying the number of your working hours by 26. For example, if you work 35 hours you are entitled to 35 x 26 = 910 hours of parental leave. This can be taken all at once, or distributed throughout the year.


Child benefit (kinderbijslag)


No, this is not just for the unemployed or low income. Every parent registered in the Netherlands, working or studying, is eligible for child benefit. The aim is to ease the costs that come with buying industrial amounts of Gouda, mini white sneakers, and a bakfiets. The amount of child benefit varies depending on your income, the child’s age, and the number of children you have. For 2021 parents with one child aged 0-5 received €223,37 per quarter. The amount given is increased until the age of 18, when not so little Gerrit can afford to buy his own hagelslag.


Sure, The Netherlands is not Sweden when it comes to post-natal care…but the Dutch state does support families regardless of income. Convinced? I’ll see you and mini Willemijn at the kinderdagverblijf.


This blog was written by Overseasy Intern Lizzy Patterson