Photo description: Young woman riding a traditional bicycle along a dike road with wind turbines

Comprehensive picture of the Monitor of Well-being & Sustainable Development Goals 2020

This publication outlines the development of well-being and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Netherlands in 2019. Therefore, the major impact on our economy and society of COVID-19 and the associated measures are not discussed in this Monitor. This does not mean, however, that the concept of well-being is not of great significance when we consider the societal challenges that the Netherlands is currently facing. More than ever before, many factors that determine quality of life are being brought into decision-making procedures. As a result, the concept of well-being and achieving the SDGs are clearly more relevant than ever.

This Monitor describes the development of well-being ‘here and now’, the potential well-being of future generations (‘later’) and the effect of our actions on well-being in other countries (‘elsewhere’). This is done using a structured set of indicators that describe the many aspects of well-being. In addition to the economy and labour, these indicators also concern matters such as health, education and the living environment. They look at developments in the most recent year, trends over the last eight years (the medium term: 2012–2019) and, where available, long-term developments from 1995.noot1 For each indicator, we also look at the position of the Netherlands within the European Union (EU). We then examine the distribution of well-being between various groups in the population.

This publication also looks at well-being from the perspective of the 17 SDGs. The SDGs were drawn up by the United Nations (UN) in 2015 and signed by 193 countries (UN, 2015). The SDGs are well aligned with the pursuit of greater well-being. Underlying principles of the SDG agenda, such as the key principle of ‘leave no one behind’, the attention to our carbon footprint and the five Ps (people, planet, peace, prosperity & partnership), are all very relevant to our quality of life and ensuring that this quality of life is future-proof.

Summary overview

In 2019, the Netherlands was in a strong position economically. In the words of Klaas Knot, president of De Nederlandsche Bank (Dutch Central Bank), the Dutch economy was marked 9 out of 10 (Head Topics, 2020). We were therefore doing well as regards our GDP and employment in 2019. Material well-being was high and had risen sharply in the previous years. At the same time, it is notable that not all aspects of well-being improved one-to-one with GDP over those years. The same can be said about a number of material aspects. For example, the volume of GDP increased by more than 60 percent from 1995, but real disposable income and the volume of household consumption rose by over 40 percent. And on a number of non-material points, we have gone backwards.

The Netherlands is vulnerable in the area of natural capital and in many respects it ranks lowest compared with other EU countries. The nitrogen surplus is among the highest in Europe and the capacity and share of renewable energy are among the lowest. Furthermore, with the exclusion of one neutral development, all biodiversity indicators are showing a downward trend. On the positive side, the area of managed natural spaces is increasing and renewable energy capacity is growing strongly.

There is a varied picture as regards health. Compared with other EU countries, the Netherlands is in the middle group in this respect. The healthy life expectancy of women is relatively low and the problem of an overweight population has been gradually increasing in the Netherlands for decades. Society also seems to be becoming busier and more rushed. Traffic congestion is increasing, satisfaction with the amount of free time is declining and, in line with this, the percentage of people who do voluntary work is also decreasing, together with the number of contacts with family, friends and neighbours. Furthermore, work-related mental fatigue is increasing and the proportion of mentally healthy individuals in the total population is declining. This is possibly a drawback of high levels of employment, as employment has risen strongly in recent years. To put this into context, however, it must be noted that a relatively large amount of voluntary work is done in the Netherlands compared with other EU countries and satisfaction with the amount of free time is still relatively high compared with other countries.

It is, however, not the case that the Netherlands has only made progress from a material point of view. Our well-being has also increased in recent years and is now at a high level in the European context. The same can be said of our trust in our fellow human beings and in institutions. The Netherlands is a ‘high-trust society’. Safety is also continuing to increase. This is a good basis for well-being, as is a robust economy, although a few comments need to be made about the economy in 2019. Firstly, the fact that the Netherlands is a trading nation has both positive and negative effects. Those trade relations have the effect of increasing well-being in other countries as well. But they also involve the Netherlands extracting large amounts of raw materials, at home as well as from other countries.

In addition, well-being is not distributed evenly among people. The low-skilled and people with a non-western migration background in particular have a lower level of well-being on average. The level of education is the main deciding factor here. A person with a lower education level is very likely to have lower well-being in many respects. A migration background is a less decisive factor in this regard. In addition, not everybody benefits from increasing material well-being, as evidenced by a widening poverty gap (how far the median income of poor people in the Dutch population is below the poverty threshold), a larger share of households in long-term poverty and a growing number of homeless people. Nevertheless, the Netherlands is still one of the leading countries in Europe as regards the low risk of poverty or social exclusion, relative poverty and the poverty gap.

Well-being ‘here and now’

Well-being in a broad sense in the Netherlands today is shown through eight themes: well-being, material well-being, health, labour and leisure time, housing, society, safety, and the environment.

How to use the ‘Trends in well-being’ illustrations

In the three ‘wheels’ depicting trends in well-being here and now, later and elsewhere, the inner ring gives information on the medium-term trend (based on available data for 2012‍–‍2019). The outer ring shows the most recent year-on-year change. Move to or tap on an indicator to show what it measures. By clicking you get more information on the developments for the Netherlands and on the Dutch ranking compared with other EU countries. Where possible, time series are included from 1995.

For the trends and the year-on-year change, the colours denote: For the EU ranking the colours denote:
Green Green
The indicator is moving in the direction associated with an improvement of well-being. The Netherlands is in the upper quartile of the EU ranking.
Grey Grey
No significant increase or decrease in the indicator. The Netherlands is in the middle of the EU ranking.
Red Red
The indicator is moving in the direction associated with a deterioration in well-being. The Netherlands is in the lower quartile of the EU ranking.
Trends in well-being: Here and now
Trendsinwell-beingHere and now+1.1%Gross domesticproductPosition in EU in 2019Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20193rd out of 19PositiveNeutralClick for more information+1.6%ptWell-beingSatisfaction withlifePosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20191st out of 16PositivePositiveClick for more information+1.2%ptWell-beingPersonal well-beingindexMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-2019PositiveNeutralClick for more information-0.8%ptWell-beingFeeling in controlof own lifePosition in EU in 2017Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2016-20184th out of 28NeutralNeutralClick for more information+1.0%Material well-beingMedian disposableincomePosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-20187th out of 28PositiveNeutralClick for more information+0.8%Material well-beingIndividualconsumptionPosition in EU in 2019Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20195th out of 17PositiveNeutralClick for more information+1.0%HealthHealthy life expectancyof menPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201916th out of 28NeutralNeutralClick for more information+0.8%HealthHealthy life expectancyof womenPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201922th out of 28NeutralNeutralClick for more information-0.1%ptHealthOverweightpopulationPosition in EU in 2016Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201910th out of 28NegativeNeutralClick for more information-0.4%ptLabour and leisure timeLong-termunemploymentPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20198th out of 28NeutralPositiveClick for more information+1.0%ptLabour and leisure timeNet labourparticipationPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20193rd out of 28PositivePositiveClick for more information+0.8%ptLabour and leisure timeHigher educatedpopulationPosition in EU in 2019Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201911th out of 28PositivePositiveClick for more information+0.3%ptLabour and leisure timeSatisfaction withleisure timePosition in EU in 2013Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20193rd out of 28NegativeNeutralClick for more information+4.5%Labour and leisure timeTime lost due totraffic congestion and delaysMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-2018NegativeNeutralClick for more information+1.3%ptLabour and leisure timeSatisfaction withwork (employees)Position in EU in 2017Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20197th out of 28NeutralPositiveClick for more information+1.0%ptHousingHousingqualityPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201918th out of 28NeutralPositiveClick for more information+1.0%ptHousingSatisfaction withhousingPosition in EU in 2017Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20199th out of 28NeutralNeutralClick for more information-0.3%ptSocietyContact with family,friends or neighboursPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20191st out of 16NegativeNeutralClick for more information+1.7%SocietyVoice andaccountabilityPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-20184th out of 28NeutralNeutralClick for more information+0.4%ptSocietyTrust ininstitutionsPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20192nd out of 16PositiveNeutralClick for more information+0.1%ptSocietyTrust inother peoplePosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20192nd out of 16PositiveNeutralClick for more information+4.5%ptSocietyChanges in valuesand normsMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-2018NeutralNeutralClick for more information-0.9%ptSocietyVoluntaryworkPosition in EU in 2015Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20191st out of 28NegativeNeutralClick for more information-0.0%ptSafetyOften feeling unsafein the neighbourhoodMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-2019PositivePositiveClick for more information-0.8%ptSafetyVictims ofcrimePosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-201911th out of 16PositivePositiveClick for more information+0.3%ptEnvironmentManaged natural assetswithin NNNMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-2018PositivePositiveClick for more information+1.2%ptEnvironmentQuality of inlandbathing watersPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201917th out of 26PositiveNeutralClick for more information-0.7%EnvironmentFauna in freshwaterand marshesMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-2018NegativeNegativeClick for more information-1.2%EnvironmentFauna onlandMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-2018NeutralNegativeClick for more information+1.6%ptEnvironmentNitrogen deposition andterrestrial nature areasMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-2018NeutralNeutralClick for more information+5.1%EnvironmentUrban exposure toparticulate matter (PM2.5)Position in EU in 2017Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-20188th out of 25PositiveNeutralClick for more information-1.0%ptEnvironmentEnvironmentalproblemsPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201922th out of 28NeutralPositiveClick for more information
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EU rankingThe bars show the Netherlands’ ranking in the European Union for each indicator.Low rankingNo dataHigh rankingMiddle rankingKeyGDPper capitaWell-beingMaterial well-beingLabour and leisure timeHousingSafetyHealthEnvironmentSociety02010304050607080910111214131516211718192022232425272628293031Improvement in well-beingNo changeDeterioration in well-beingMedium-term trend (8 years)Change (most recent year)Key

Well-being. The extent to which people are satisfied with their lives determines their well-being. In the Netherlands, well-being is predominantly good. Both satisfaction with life and personal well-being have shown an upward trend over the last eight years. Satisfaction with life was as high in 2019 as it had ever been since measurements began in 1997. For indicators for which an international comparison is possible in relation to this theme, it is noticeable that the Netherlands scores high. However, there are differences between population groups. For example, people aged 65 to 74 years feel above-average satisfaction with life, while people aged 25 to 34 years feel below average satisfaction. The satisfaction of highly educated people and those with a native Dutch background is also above average, while people with a low education level and those with a non-western migration background feel lower than average levels of satisfaction.

Material well-being. This measures the disposable income that people have and the goods and services that they can purchase with that income. The development and the level of material well-being are positive. There is an upward trend in both disposable income and individual consumption. In 2019, individual consumption was at the highest level of the previous 25 years. Material well-being in the Netherlands is also high when compared with other EU countries. However, there are substantial differences between population groups. The differences are related to age, education level and migration background.

Health. Health is a decisive factor for quality of life. An illness or disability restricts a person’s opportunities for taking part in society. The Netherlands is not making advances as regards many aspects of health. More than half of people aged 20 years and over are now overweight, which has a negative effect on their health, and the trend is upward. The share of people who are overweight has risen virtually without exception since 1995 and in 2014 it exceeded 50 percent for the first time. In contrast, the number of smokers as well as alcohol consumption declined further (SDG 3.5.2). The percentage of men who are overweight is higher than that of women. In addition, people with a low education level are more often overweight than the highly educated. The proportion of those who are overweight also increases with age up to the age category of 65 to 74 years. In terms of healthy life expectancy, Dutch men are midway in the European rankings, but Dutch women still lag behind in Europe.

Labour and leisure time. For many people, well-being depends strongly on their having work that is appropriate and paid. On the other hand, leisure time also has a role to play in well-being. A good education is of great importance in determining opportunities on the labour market. The picture with respect to labour and leisure time is mixed. Net labour participation, for example, is on a rising trend, as is the share of highly educated people in the population. In 2019, both were at the highest level in 25 years. However, time lost through traffic congestion increased again between 2012 and 2019. Previously, congestion had actually fallen between 2008 and 2012 due to the economic crisis. Satisfaction with the amount of leisure time is showing a downward trend, although most developments related to this theme were positive from 2018 to 2019. For example, long-term unemployment was significantly lower in 2019 than in 2018 and there was a significant increase in net labour participation, the share of highly educated people and job satisfaction. The Netherlands ranks highly in most areas compared with other EU countries. However, there are differences between population groups, for example in the level of education. Whereas 82 percent of the highly educated are in paid employment, for people with a medium level of education the share is 72 percent, while only 50 percent of those with a low education level have paid work.

Housing. Decent accommodation is one of our basic needs. For this reason, people spend a substantial part of their income on housing. In terms of housing, there is little movement in the Netherlands either for better or worse and the country is in a middle position in the EU rankings. The quality of homes improved significantly in 2019, though here too, there are major differences between population groups. Young people report deficiencies in their homes relatively often, while for elderly people, this problem is relatively rare. People with a non-western migration background also experience deficiencies in their housing more often than people with a native Dutch background.

Society. An essential part of well-being is a society in which everyone can participate and in which people can trust one another and trust institutions such as the government and the judicial system. There is a mixed picture in this area. One trend is that the percentage of people who do organised voluntary work has declined. There is also a downward trend in contact with the family, friends or neighbours. In contrast, trust in institutions and in other people is on a rising trend. On all aspects of society, the Netherlands has a high position in comparison with other European countries. With regard to trust in other people, however, there are differences according to sex, age, level of education and migration background. Whereas fewer than half of people with a low education level trust others, for those with a medium education the share is 60 percent and for the highly educated it is 80 percent.

Safety. Crime can have far-reaching consequences for victims. With regard to the phenomenon of crime, both the actual risk of being a victim and the feeling of safety or a lack of safety are of importance. On this theme, there is a positive picture. The percentage of people who frequently feel unsafe in their own neighbourhood is decreasing. This percentage was still rising between 2008 and 2013, but since 2014, the trend has been downward. The crime victim rate is also falling. Both the number of people feeling unsafe and the number of actual crime victims were significantly lower in 2019 than in 2018. The number of victims in the Netherlands is average in the European context. A higher than average share of highly educated people report having been victims of traditional or other crimes, but a lower than average share of this group often feel unsafe in their own neighbourhood. The reverse is true for those with a low level of education.

The environment. Clean air, clean water, a healthy natural environment and healthy soil are important basic needs. There is a mixed picture in relation to this theme. Although there are a number of positive trends, 2019 saw both favourable and unfavourable changes. The area of managed natural spaces within the Netherlands Nature Network shows a rising trend. This is the network of existing nature areas and those still to be created, including national parks as well as land farmed under agricultural nature management schemes and land purchased for nature development. The quality of swimming water in inland waters is also rising and exposure to particulate matter in cities is falling. On the negative side, the wealth of species and the populations of animals typical of fresh water and marsh are declining. Fresh water and marsh fauna increased between 1995 and 2008, then remained stable for a few years, before deteriorating from 2014. In addition, the numbers of birds in cities and on agricultural land declined, and the number of endangered species on the Red List rose (SDG 15.5.1). However, in 2019, the percentage of people experiencing environmental problems was significantly lower than in 2018. As far as the environment is concerned, the Netherlands is mostly in a bad to average position compared with other EU countries. However, it is not possible to make a comparison for all indicators.

Well-being ‘later’

Well-being ‘later’ refers to the resources that future generations need in order to achieve the same level of well-being as their parents. In this context, these resources are referred to as ‘capital’. The basic principle is that the per capita amount of capital must remain at least equal if future generations want to be able to enjoy the same level of well-being.

Trends in well-being: Later
Trendsinwell-beingLater+1.1%Gross domesticproductPosition in EU in 2019Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20193rd out of 19PositiveNeutralClick for more information-0.7%Economic capitalPhysical capitalstockPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-20187th out of 11NegativeNeutralClick for more information-1.8%Economic capitalKnowledge capitalstockPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-20181st out of 12PositiveNeutralClick for more information+0.4%Economic capitalAverage householddebtPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-201823th out of 25NeutralNeutralClick for more information+35.7%Economic capitalMedian wealthof householdsMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-2018NeutralNeutralClick for more information-10.8%Natural capitalFossil energyreservesPosition in EU in 2017Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20197th out of 13NegativeNegativeClick for more information+26.7%Natural capitalRenewable electricitycapacityPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201922th out of 26PositiveNeutralClick for more information+0.3%ptNatural capitalManaged natural assetswithin NNNMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-2018PositivePositiveClick for more information-32.3%Natural capitalPhosphorussurplusPosition in EU in 2017Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201910th out of 16NeutralNeutralClick for more information-10.1%Natural capitalNitrogensurplusPosition in EU in 2017Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201917th out of 17NeutralNeutralClick for more information-1.2%Natural capitalFauna onlandMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-2018NeutralNegativeClick for more information-0.7%Natural capitalFauna in freshwaterand marshesMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-2018NegativeNegativeClick for more information+1.6%Natural capitalSurface and groundwater abstractionPosition in EU in 2017Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-201811th out of 14PositiveNeutralClick for more information+5.1%Natural capitalUrban exposure toparticulate matter (PM2.5)Position in EU in 2017Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-20188th out of 25PositiveNeutralClick for more information+0.3%Natural capitalCumulative CO₂emissionsPosition in EU in 2014Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201913th out of 17NegativeNeutralClick for more information+1.3%Human capitalHoursworkedPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201919th out of 28PositiveNeutralClick for more information+0.8%ptHuman capitalHigher educatedpopulationPosition in EU in 2019Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201911th out of 28PositivePositiveClick for more information+0.8%Human capitalHealthy life expectancyof womenPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201922th out of 28NeutralNeutralClick for more information+1.0%Human capitalHealthy life expectancyof menPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201916th out of 28NeutralNeutralClick for more information+0.1%ptSocial capitalTrust inother peoplePosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20192nd out of 16PositiveNeutralClick for more information+0.6%ptSocial capitalFeelings ofdiscriminationPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2016-201812th out of 16NeutralNeutralClick for more information+0.4%ptSocial capitalTrust ininstitutionsPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20192nd out of 16PositiveNeutralClick for more information
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EU rankingThe bars show the Netherlands’ ranking in the European Union for each indicator.Low rankingHigh rankingMiddle rankingKeyGDPper capitaEconomiccapital02010304Natural capital05060708091011121314Human capital15161718Social capital192021No dataImprovement in well-beingNo changeDeterioration in well-beingMedium-term trend (8 years)Change (most recent year)Key

Economic capital. Dutch physical capital stock is tending to decline, but knowledge capital stock is increasing. In terms of knowledge capital, the Netherlands tops the EU rankings. Household debt, which can be seen as negative economic capital in the context of well-being, is relatively high, however.

Natural capital. With respect to natural capital, the Netherlands is weak from a European point of view. In terms of trends, there are downward as well as upward developments. Fossil energy reserves are decreasing and fresh water and marsh faunas are on the decline. In addition, cumulative COemissions are rising. These developments contribute to reducing well-being. In contrast, the operational capacity for renewable energy is growing, as is the size of the Netherlands Nature Network. The amount of urban particulate matter and surface and groundwater abstraction show a downward trend and these factors have a positive effect on well-being. The international comparison puts the Netherlands mostly near the bottom or in the middle of the rankings. For example, the Netherlands has a large nitrogen surplus per hectare of agricultural land and a relatively low operational capacity for renewable energy. However, that capacity does show a very strong increase over the long term.

Human capital. There are important upward trends in human capital in the Netherlands. For example, the number of working hours per capita is on a rising trend and it was higher in 2019 than it had been in the previous 25 years. The share of the total population who are highly educated is rising and in 2019, it was significantly higher than in the year before. During the previous 25 years, this share had risen virtually continuously. Compared with other European countries, the Netherlands ranks in the middle in many areas. However, the healthy life expectancy of women in the Netherlands is low in comparison with other EU countries.

Social capital. In the Netherlands, social capital is reasonably substantial and growing. Trust in institutions as well as trust in other people is at a high level compared with other countries in the EU. Moreover, both forms of trust are following an upward trend. However, compared with other EU countries, a significant proportion of the population consider that they belong to a group that suffers discrimination. There is no clear trend for this proportion, either rising or falling.

Well-being ‘elsewhere’

Dutch society also has an influence on the rest of the world, which is reflected in well-being ‘elsewhere’. Central to this are the flows of income and resources between the Netherlands and other countries. Within well-being ‘elsewhere’, we distinguish the themes of ‘trade and aid’, and ‘the environment and resources’.

Trends in well-being: Elsewhere
Trendsinwell-beingElsewhere+1.1%Gross domesticproductPosition in EU in 2019Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20193rd out of 19PositiveNeutralClick for more information+3.5%Trade and aidTotal importsof goodsMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-2019NeutralNeutralClick for more information+1.0%Trade and aidImports of goodsfrom EuropeMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-2019NeutralNeutralClick for more information+9.8%Trade and aidImports of goodsfrom AfricaMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-2019NegativeNeutralClick for more information+10.7%Trade and aidImports of goodsfrom AmericaMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-2019NeutralNeutralClick for more information+6.7%Trade and aidImports of goodsfrom AsiaMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-2019PositiveNeutralClick for more information+1.7%Trade and aidImports of goodsfrom OceaniaMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-2019PositiveNeutralClick for more information+1.8%Trade and aidTotal importsfrom LDCsPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-20192nd out of 28NeutralNeutralClick for more information+0.0%ptTrade and aidDevelopmentaidPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-20186th out of 25NeutralNeutralClick for more information+0.1%ptTrade and aidRemittances Position in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2017-20184th out of 28PositiveNeutralClick for more information-1.6%Environment and resourcesFossil fuelimportsPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201928th out of 28NeutralNeutralClick for more information-13.6%Environment and resourcesFossil fuel importsfrom LDCsMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-2019PositiveNeutralClick for more information+7.1%Environment and resourcesImports ofmetalsPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201925th out of 28NegativeNeutralClick for more information+151.3%Environment and resourcesImports of metalsfrom LDCsMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-2019NegativeNeutralClick for more information+4.2%Environment and resourcesImports ofnon-metallic mineralsPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201926th out of 28NeutralNeutralClick for more information-4.5%Environment and resourcesImports of non-metallicminerals from LDCsMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-2019NeutralNeutralClick for more information+2.7%Environment and resourcesBiomassimportsPosition in EU in 2018Medium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-201928th out of 28NegativeNeutralClick for more information-2.7%Environment and resourcesBiomass importsfrom LDCsMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-2019NeutralNeutralClick for more information+3.5%Environment and resourcesGreenhouse gasfootprintMedium-term trend (2012-2019)Most recent y-o-y change 2018-2019NeutralNegativeClick for more information
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No dataEU rankingThe bars show the Netherlands’ ranking in the European Union for each indicator.Low rankingHigh rankingMiddle rankingKeyGDPper capitaTrade and aid080709 Environment and resources101112131514161817010203040605Improvement in well-beingNo changeDeterioration in well-beingMedium-term trend (8 years)Change (most recent year)Key

Trade and aid. For trade and aid, the trends are predominantly neutral or positive. The value of imports of goods from Asia and Oceania increased and this was also the trend for remittances. In 2019, both the import flows in question and remittances were at their highest points in 25 years. The trend in the imports of goods from Africa is downward, but these imports were significantly higher in 2019 than in 2018. For the indicators for which an international comparison is possible, the Netherlands is high in the European rankings. The Port of Rotterdam plays a major role in this.

The environment and resources. The picture is less positive for the environment and resources. For example, there is a rising trend in the amounts of biomass and metals imported, and also in imports of metals from the poorest countries. From the point of view of conserving raw materials for future generations elsewhere, these trends are seen as negative for well-being. Total imports of metals were the highest for 25 years and imports of biomass were higher than ever before. Imports of metals from the poorest countries rose significantly in 2019. The greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint, where the trend is neutral, also rose strongly from 2018 to 2019. However, fossil fuel imports from the poorest countries did show a falling trend. This is the only indicator associated with this theme that is developing in the direction of an increase in well-being. Internationally, the Netherlands lags behind on this theme.

Distribution of well-being

Well-being here and now is not distributed equally. Some population groups have above-average scores for many indicators, which points to a higher level of well-being. This is especially true for people without a migration background and for those with a high level of education. At the other end of the scale, there are groups that often score below average, especially those with a western or non-western migration background and people with a low education level. Well-being is fairly equally distributed by age. Men and women have equal numbers of favourable and unfavourable outcomes.

Distribution of well-being
Indicators on which certain population groups have a significantly higher (green) or lower (red) well-being than the national average (grey)
Ordered by colour
Ordered by indicator

Sex

Men, overweight: well-being lower than national average
Men, satisfaction with leisure time: well-being lower than national average
Men, weekly contact with family, friends and/or neighbours: well-being lower than national average
Men, voluntary work: well-being lower than national average
Men, crime victim: well-being lower than national average
Men, satisfaction with life: well-being does not differ from national average
Men, higher education: well-being does not differ from national average
Men, long-term unemployment: well-being does not differ from national average
Men, satisfaction with work: well-being does not differ from national average
Men, satisfaction with commuting time: well-being does not differ from national average
Men, one or more housing defects: well-being does not differ from national average
Men, satisfaction with housing: well-being does not differ from national average
Men, trust in institutions: well-being does not differ from national average
Men, often experiences environmental pollution in own neighbourhood: well-being does not differ from national average
Men, personal well-being: well-being higher than national average
Men, good or very good health: well-being higher than national average
Men, paid work: well-being higher than national average
Men, trust in other people: well-being higher than national average
Men, often feels unsafe in own neighbourhood: well-being higher than national average
Men, median household income: insufficient data or insufficient quality
Women, personal well-being: well-being lower than national average
Women, good or very good health: well-being lower than national average
Women, paid work: well-being lower than national average
Women, trust in other people: well-being lower than national average
Women, often feels unsafe in own neighbourhood: well-being lower than national average
Women, satisfaction with life: well-being does not differ from national average
Women, higher education: well-being does not differ from national average
Women, long-term unemployment: well-being does not differ from national average
Women, satisfaction with work: well-being does not differ from national average
Women, satisfaction with commuting time: well-being does not differ from national average
Women, one or more housing defects: well-being does not differ from national average
Women, satisfaction with housing: well-being does not differ from national average
Women, trust in institutions: well-being does not differ from national average
Women, often experiences environmental pollution in own neighbourhood: well-being does not differ from national average
Women, overweight: well-being higher than national average
Women, satisfaction with leisure time: well-being higher than national average
Women, weekly contact with family, friends and/or neighbours: well-being higher than national average
Women, voluntary work: well-being higher than national average
Women, crime victim: well-being higher than national average
Women, median household income: insufficient data or insufficient quality

Age

Younger than 25, median household income: well-being lower than national average
Younger than 25, higher education: well-being lower than national average
Younger than 25, paid work: well-being lower than national average
Younger than 25, satisfaction with leisure time: well-being lower than national average
Younger than 25, one or more housing defects: well-being lower than national average
Younger than 25, crime victim: well-being lower than national average
Younger than 25, satisfaction with life: well-being does not differ from national average
Younger than 25, satisfaction with work: well-being does not differ from national average
Younger than 25, satisfaction with commuting time: well-being does not differ from national average
Younger than 25, satisfaction with housing: well-being does not differ from national average
Younger than 25, weekly contact with family, friends and/or neighbours: well-being does not differ from national average
Younger than 25, voluntary work: well-being does not differ from national average
Younger than 25, trust in other people: well-being does not differ from national average
Younger than 25, often feels unsafe in own neighbourhood: well-being does not differ from national average
Younger than 25, personal well-being: well-being higher than national average
Younger than 25, good or very good health: well-being higher than national average
Younger than 25, overweight: well-being higher than national average
Younger than 25, long-term unemployment: well-being higher than national average
Younger than 25, trust in institutions: well-being higher than national average
Younger than 25, often experiences environmental pollution in own neighbourhood: well-being higher than national average
25-34, satisfaction with life: well-being lower than national average
25-34, satisfaction with work: well-being lower than national average
25-34, satisfaction with commuting time: well-being lower than national average
25-34, satisfaction with leisure time: well-being lower than national average
25-34, one or more housing defects: well-being lower than national average
25-34, satisfaction with housing: well-being lower than national average
25-34, voluntary work: well-being lower than national average
25-34, crime victim: well-being lower than national average
25-34, often feels unsafe in own neighbourhood: well-being lower than national average
25-34, median household income: well-being does not differ from national average
25-34, weekly contact with family, friends and/or neighbours: well-being does not differ from national average
25-34, often experiences environmental pollution in own neighbourhood: well-being does not differ from national average
25-34, personal well-being: well-being higher than national average
25-34, good or very good health: well-being higher than national average
25-34, overweight: well-being higher than national average
25-34, higher education: well-being higher than national average
25-34, paid work: well-being higher than national average
25-34, long-term unemployment: well-being higher than national average
25-34, trust in other people: well-being higher than national average
25-34, trust in institutions: well-being higher than national average
35-44 , overweight: well-being lower than national average
35-44 , satisfaction with leisure time: well-being lower than national average
35-44 , one or more housing defects: well-being lower than national average
35-44 , satisfaction with housing: well-being lower than national average
35-44 , crime victim: well-being lower than national average
35-44 , satisfaction with life: well-being does not differ from national average
35-44 , personal well-being: well-being does not differ from national average
35-44 , good or very good health: well-being does not differ from national average
35-44 , satisfaction with work: well-being does not differ from national average
35-44 , satisfaction with commuting time: well-being does not differ from national average
35-44 , weekly contact with family, friends and/or neighbours: well-being does not differ from national average
35-44 , often feels unsafe in own neighbourhood: well-being does not differ from national average
35-44 , often experiences environmental pollution in own neighbourhood: well-being does not differ from national average
35-44 , median household income: well-being higher than national average
35-44 , higher education: well-being higher than national average
35-44 , paid work: well-being higher than national average
35-44 , long-term unemployment: well-being higher than national average
35-44 , voluntary work: well-being higher than national average
35-44 , trust in other people: well-being higher than national average
35-44 , trust in institutions: well-being higher than national average
45-54, personal well-being: well-being lower than national average
45-54, good or very good health: well-being lower than national average
45-54, overweight: well-being lower than national average
45-54, satisfaction with leisure time: well-being lower than national average
45-54, weekly contact with family, friends and/or neighbours: well-being lower than national average
45-54, crime victim: well-being lower than national average
45-54, satisfaction with life: well-being does not differ from national average
45-54, long-term unemployment: well-being does not differ from national average
45-54, satisfaction with commuting time: well-being does not differ from national average
45-54, one or more housing defects: well-being does not differ from national average
45-54, satisfaction with housing: well-being does not differ from national average
45-54, trust in institutions: well-being does not differ from national average
45-54, often feels unsafe in own neighbourhood: well-being does not differ from national average
45-54, often experiences environmental pollution in own neighbourhood: well-being does not differ from national average
45-54, median household income: well-being higher than national average
45-54, higher education: well-being higher than national average
45-54, paid work: well-being higher than national average
45-54, satisfaction with work: well-being higher than national average
45-54, voluntary work: well-being higher than national average
45-54, trust in other people: well-being higher than national average
55-64, personal well-being: well-being lower than national average
55-64, good or very good health: well-being lower than national average
55-64, overweight: well-being lower than national average
55-64, higher education: well-being lower than national average
55-64, long-term unemployment: well-being lower than national average
55-64, weekly contact with family, friends and/or neighbours: well-being lower than national average
55-64, trust in institutions: well-being lower than national average
55-64, often experiences environmental pollution in own neighbourhood: well-being lower than national average
55-64, satisfaction with life: well-being does not differ from national average
55-64, satisfaction with work: well-being does not differ from national average
55-64, one or more housing defects: well-being does not differ from national average
55-64, voluntary work: well-being does not differ from national average
55-64, trust in other people: well-being does not differ from national average
55-64, often feels unsafe in own neighbourhood: well-being does not differ from national average
55-64, median household income: well-being higher than national average
55-64, paid work: well-being higher than national average
55-64, satisfaction with commuting time: well-being higher than national average
55-64, satisfaction with leisure time: well-being higher than national average
55-64, satisfaction with housing: well-being higher than national average
55-64, crime victim: well-being higher than national average
65-74, good or very good health: well-being lower than national average
65-74, overweight: well-being lower than national average
65-74, higher education: well-being lower than national average
65-74, paid work: well-being lower than national average
65-74, long-term unemployment: well-being lower than national average
65-74, trust in other people: well-being lower than national average
65-74, trust in institutions: well-being lower than national average
65-74, often experiences environmental pollution in own neighbourhood: well-being lower than national average
65-74, personal well-being: well-being does not differ from national average
65-74, median household income: well-being does not differ from national average
65-74, satisfaction with commuting time: well-being does not differ from national average
65-74, voluntary work: well-being does not differ from national average
65-74, satisfaction with life: well-being higher than national average
65-74, satisfaction with work: well-being higher than national average
65-74, satisfaction with leisure time: well-being higher than national average
65-74, one or more housing defects: well-being higher than national average
65-74, satisfaction with housing: well-being higher than national average
65-74, weekly contact with family, friends and/or neighbours: well-being higher than national average
65-74, crime victim: well-being higher than national average
65-74, often feels unsafe in own neighbourhood: well-being higher than national average
75 and older, median household income: well-being lower than national average
75 and older, good or very good health: well-being lower than national average