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The Netherlands has the shortest working week in the world?

Yes! According to a recent infographic from Bamboo HR taken by the OECD the

Netherlands enjoys the world’s shortest working week for business professionals.

The study stated that women typically work an average of 25 hours, while men work 34 hours per week, giving an overall average of a 29 hour working week. This is almost a 4 day week… giving Dutchies more time to stock up on flared trousers and white sneakers. Zo lekker!

In comparison Britain has an average working week of 37 hours, while the US average is 37.5 per week.

But before you quit your job and book a flight to Amsterdam it is important to note that the figures do not reflect unrecorded hours, or the Dutch standard full time working week of 38 hours.

In general, a full time work contract in the Netherlands is between 36-40 hours, while a part time contract is 36-12 hours per week. The NS train doesn’t run on its own you know.

Even so, when compared to other countries the Netherlands takes the crown in terms of work life balance, ranking 1st place by the OECD Index report. In contrast, the UK and US fall far behind, ranking 28th and 29th respectively.

So why do the Dutchies have the best work life balance?

A considerable part of work life balance concerns the hours spent working - as discussed, the Netherlands does better than average. In fact, OECD claims only 0.4% of Dutch employees work very long hours. Partly, this is due to the high minimum wage, tax threshold, and an unconscious craving for Stampot at 6pm.

Work life balance can obviously only be achieved if you have a job in the first place. Once again, the Netherlands triumphs with an employment rate of 76% for people aged 15 to 64.

Another key to the Dutchies work life balance is sharing work commitments within the family. This is achieved by both partners working. In the Netherlands 71% of women and 80% of men are in paid employment which is higher than the OECD average. Government funded preschools also help families maintain balance. Meike and Geert’s can enjoy their romantic bitterballen date, while mini Willem is building a Lego windmill at the nursery. Leuke!

I can see you on Linkedin… browsing those job advertisements in Rotterdam… Well don’t forget to bring your cheese slicer and Netflix subscription! Dutchies devote an average of 16 hours per day on their personal care (sleeping and eating) and leisurely activities (socialising, watching TV, sport).

This blog was written by Overseasy Intern Lizzy Patterson


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