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The Netherlands is one of the healthiest countries in the world!

According to a recent study conducted by Compare The Market, the Netherlands is the eighth healthiest country in the world.


The world’s top 10 healthiest countries. Results from the research.


The result is based on a number of factors:

  • The vaccination rate of children against illnesses such as mumps and rubella

  • Percentage of smokers

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Probability of premature death between the ages of 30 and 70 years old

  • Prevalence of obesity

  • Prevalence of insufficient physical activity

  • Access to basic drinking water

The Netherlands missed out on the top spot to eastern Asian countries – Japan and South Korea, in addition to Costa Rica, and a few of its European neighbours.


Nonetheless, the Netherlands achieved an overall score of 71.35, and performed particularly well in the number of people with access to basic drinking water - 100%. I told you we don’t all drink Heineken over here!


As you would expect from a bike obsessed country, the Netherlands also has a low number of adults who do an insufficient amount of physical activity, 27.2%.


Way down the ladder you can find the United Kingdom, ranking 21st and the United States at 35th. So, let's explore why the Netherlands is healthier than most countries:


Sporty Dutchies


No, I’m not just talking about cycling, although that is definitely a reason why Lotte looks so good in flared trousers. Dutch people love their sport- whether its ice skating on the canals or a game of kolven (like golf but better).

Kolf players on ice – Painting by Hendrick Avercamp, 1625.


As discussed in my article on work life balance, Dutchies spend an average of 16 hours per day on the personal and leisure activities – what better way to spend the time than playing lekker sporten.


But the Dutch diet is all fried bitterballen and sugared poffertjes, right?


Actually, according to the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport – “the Dutch Diet is slightly healthier” than it used to be. Studies show an improvement in recent years. Dutchies are now eating an average of 120 grammes of fruit per day. Fried kroket and frietje speciaal is being replaced by healthier, vegan alternatives. Dutch brands such as the Vegetarian Butcher are becoming popular, and it’s not uncommon to walk into the Albert Heijn during a vegan bonus week – 50% korting off a vegetarian saucijzenbroodje, ja alsjeblieft!

Nutritious and delicious


The Netherlands has one of the best healthcare systems in the world


Yes! Dutch health care ranks third globally on the quality and access index.


The Dutch system has tried to build on an idealised version of management competition, the same ethos that has informed US health care reforms such as the Affordable Care Act. Managed competition uses a combination of private markets and government regulations to try to reduce health care costs and improve the quality of care. The Dutch have sought to use a tightly managed market to achieve universal health care, rather than a socialised system like in Scandinavia and Britain.


Sure, it’s not free but if you have a low income or are unemployed the Dutch government subsides the cost through Zorgtoeslag, so you’re not left with a major tummy ache after one too many frietjes kapsalon.


Balance is key


If there is one thing I have learned about my time in the Netherlands it’s that balance is key – This is reflected in every aspect of Dutch life: work, relaxing, food, and exercise. Even if you can’t resist that scrummy stroopwafel, you can always cycle it off later.



This blog was written by Overseasy intern Lizzy Patterson