Is our well-being future-proof?

Photo description: Woman taking a picture of a construction project in north Amsterdam

Trends in well-being

In the public debate on well-being, GDP is often a dominant economic indicator. However, well-being is about more than just the economy. People also greatly value things such as good health, high-quality education, social contacts, cultural identity, trustworthy politics and good governance. Furthermore, politicians, policy-makers, companies and citizens are increasingly asking themselves whether the current level of well-being is sustainable over the long term. The choices that we make in the Netherlands can have consequences for the well-being of people in other countries. There is great demand in society for sound information on well-being in a broader perspective. In this Monitor, CBS presents a collection of indicators that define the relevant aspects of well-being in a systematic manner.

2.1Selecting themes and indicators

The goal of the Monitor, and in particular this chapter, is to indicate the position of the Netherlands in relation to well-being ‘here and now’, ‘later’ and ‘elsewhere’. To this end, a set of indicators is used for which data were available or could be produced. The ideal indicators are not available for all aspects of well-being. The indicators presented here were selected on the basis of the conceptual framework of the CES measuring system (UNECE, 2014). The situation in relation to the various themes from this framework is measured using one or more indicators. The selection of indicators and the statistical methods used to compile the dashboards are described in the explanatory notes accompanying this Monitor (CBS, 2020). Where figures have been produced specially for the Monitor, this is indicated by a note (A) in the explanations for the relevant dashboards. These figures give an initial indication. For this edition of the Monitor, in Chapter 2 CBS has estimated annual figures for 2019 for the following indicators to facilitate the political debate. These are accelerated estimates specially made for this publication:

  • the indicators relating to the healthy life expectancy of men and women in the ‘here and now’ dashboard;
  • the indicators relating to fossil energy reserves, phosphorus and nitrogen surpluses, cumulative COemissions and the previously mentioned healthy life expectancy for men and women in the ‘later’ dashboard;
  • a number of import indicators (imports from the LDCs, imports of minerals, metals, non-metallic minerals and biomass) and the GHG footprint in the ‘elsewhere’ dashboard.

Colour codes

The Monitor uses colours to clarify the results of the various indicators. For each indicator, two aspects are illustrated: the direction of the medium-term trend in the Netherlands in the period 2012–2019, and the position of the Netherlands in the EU28 in the most recent year with sufficient observations.

For the trends, the colours show the following: For the positions, the colours show the following:
GREEN GREEN
The trend is moving in the direction associated with an increase in well-being. The Netherlands is in the upper quartile of the EU rankings.
GREY GREY
No significant rise or fall in the trend (this colour has been left out in the dashboards). The Netherlands is in the middle of the EU rankings.
RED RED
The trend is moving in the direction associated with a decrease in well-being. The Netherlands is in the lower quartile of the EU rankings.

The colours are allocated only on the basis of the first-order effect. For example, in the first order, an increase in individual consumption is good for the consumer. However, in the second order, higher consumption can, for example cause environmental pollution, obesity, water use and COemissions in other countries.

If an indicator shows a trend in the Netherlands that is moving in the direction associated with a decline in well-being, and the position of the Netherlands in Europe is in the lower quartile, then this is illustrated in the Monitor as a ‘red’ trend and a ‘red’ position. The colour code signals to the reader that he or she needs to take a close look at the phenomenon pointed out by the indicator, as there is apparently something going on. The same applies for a completely green indicator: something is clearly going well.

The colour codes only serve as signals and they are expressly not a normative interpretation. The Monitor indicates where the Netherlands stands in terms of various aspects of well-being, showing the trade-offs that we as a society are confronted with. It is the task of political decision-makers and policy-makers to consider the issues and draw conclusions on policy. For a number of indicators provisional estimates for 2019 have been made especially for this Monitor; these may be adjusted at a later date.

Footnotes in the dashboards mean the following:

  1. For the Monitor, CBS has estimated an annual figure for the most recent year in order to facilitate the political debate. This is a provisional first estimate.
  2. For this indicator, the number of data points in the 2012–2019 period is insufficient for calculating a trend.
  3. For this indicator, the projection by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency has been used for 2018 and 2019.
  4. For the Monitor, CBS has estimated an annual figure for 2018 and 2019 in order to facilitate the political debate. This is a provisional first estimate.
  5. In contrast to chapter 2 (Figure 2.4.2), in Chapter 4 (SDG 17) this indicator is interpreted as being favourable or unfavourable in terms of well-being. This indicator is defined in the SDG agenda. Each SDG indicator has a desired direction. From this point of view, more spending is seen as increasing well-being.
  6. For the Monitor, CBS has estimated an annual figure for 2018 in order to facilitate the political debate. This gives an initial indication. The projection by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency has also been used for 2019.
  7. The data quality is insufficient for determining a trend.

2.2Well-being ‘here and now’

It is not only the current situation that is of importance for well-being, but also the medium-term development, for example the trend, and the short-term development, which is the most recent year-on-year change. This section looks in more detail at the following:

  • the trend in the period 2012–2019;
  • the most recent annual changes;
  • the position of the Netherlands in the EU rankings in the most recent year for which international data are available.

As explained in Section 2.1, the ‘here and now’ dashboard distinguishes eight main themes. We indicate below the importance of the various themes in terms of well-being.

  • Well-being. Personal well-being is central to reflections on well-being in a broad sense. Well-being is defined here as the extent to which people are satisfied with their lives.
  • Material well-being. Material well-being is made up of the disposable income that people have, together with the goods and services that they can purchase with that income and with which they can add fulfilment and colour to their lives.
  • Health. Health is a decisive factor for quality of life. A chronic illness restricts a person’s ability to participate in society. Quality of life is also determined to a great extent by nutrition and whether a person has a healthy diet. One of the biggest problems in this context is currently that of excess weight and obesity.
  • Labour and leisure time. For many people, well-being depends strongly on their having paid work. On the other hand, leisure time has a major influence on people’s perceived quality of life. Therefore, there needs to be a balance between work and leisure time. In this context, a good education is essential for a person to have good opportunities on the job market.
  • Housing. Decent accommodation is a basic need. The Dutch pay a substantial part of their income on housing.
  • Society. 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 is also part of well-being. The number of social contacts and therefore the degree to which people participate in social life is an important aspect of well-being.
  • Safety. Crime has a direct impact on the quality of life of victims. Both the actual risk of being a victim and the feeling of safety or a lack of safety have an effect.
  • The environment. Clean air, clean water, a healthy natural environment and uncontaminated soil are important basic needs. High concentrations of particulate matter in the air can lead to serious health problems, such as asthma and COPD. In a densely populated country such as the Netherlands, it is important for specific areas to be primarily left natural, so that flora and fauna can survive and thrive there.
2.2.1   Well-being 'here and now'

Well-being

87.3%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
1st
64.7%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
47.5%
4th

Material well-being

€ 25,620
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
7th
€ 26,289
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
5th

Health

64.8
16th
63.2
22nd
51.0%
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
10th

Labour and leisure time

1.0%
8th
68.8%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
3rd
39.7%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
11th
74.2%
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
3rd
3.85
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
77.9%
7th

Housing

85.2%
18th
87.5%
9th

Society

72.2%
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
1st
1.60
4th
63.1%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
2nd
61.8%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
2nd
46.7%
46.7%
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
1st

Safety

1.4%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
13.7%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
11th

Environment

20.6%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
73.8%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
17th
140
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
85
71.4%
12.0
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
8th
15.1%
22nd

Below is a description of the most important trends in well-being ‘here and now’ in the period 2012–2019. The dashboard for well-being ‘here and now’ distinguishes eight themes.

The indicators show a stable or rising trend for the three themes of ‘well-being’, ‘material well-being’ (see also the large proportion of indicators with a green trend in the dashboards of SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) in Chapter 4), and ‘safety’.

For the theme ‘health’, the indicators show a stable or falling trend for well-being. This is in line with the conclusion in Chapter 4 that SDG 3 (Good health and well-being) has a relatively large share of indicators with a red trend.

For the theme ‘housing’, the development is fairly even and shows no clear trend.

In the case of ‘labour and leisure time’, ‘society’ and ‘the environment’, the picture is mixed. There are indicators showing rising well-being as well as indicators showing well-being in decline.

Increasing well-being

The following indicators in the ‘here and now’ dashboard are moving in the direction associated with increasing well-being:

  • Satisfaction with life: this satisfaction is measured as the percentage of the population of the Netherlands aged 18 years and older who are satisfied with life (score of 7–10 in answer to the question ‘Can you indicate on a scale of 1–10 how satisfied you are with the life you are living now? 1 is completely dissatisfied and 10 is completely satisfied.’). This percentage rose from 85.1 in 2012 to 87.3 in 2019.
  • Personal Well-being Index: this index is measured with the help of 12 indicators that describe eight different dimensions of well-being. A score is determined for each dimension and the scores are subsequently brought together into one figure. This measure indicates what percentage of the population gives the aspect of well-being in question a score of 7 or higher (on a scale of 1–10). The eight scores are equally weighted. In 2013, the first year of measurement, 55.6 percent of the population gave a score of 7 or higher for their personal well-being. This share rose to 64.7 percent in 2019.
  • Median disposable income: this is the income per household (adjusted for inflation, expressed in 2015 prices). The calculation is adjusted for the differences in household size and composition. The median is the middle number when all numbers are ordered from low to high. This income rose from 23,954 euros in 2012 to 25,620 euros in 2018.
  • Individual consumption: this indicator concerns actual individual consumption, which is the goods and services acquired by households. Goods and services funded by the government and non-profit institutions serving households (NPISHs), and subsequently provided to the households as social transfers in kind, are included. These primarily involve government expenditure in the areas of health, education and social protection. Collective government spending on defence or general governance, for example, is not included. Individual consumption is the value of consumption per capita (adjusted for inflation, expressed in 2015 prices). This consumption increased from 25,256 euros in 2012 to 26,289 euros in 2019.
  • Net labour participation: this indicator measures the share of the employed labour force in the total age category of 15 to 74 years (both included and not included in the labour force). This figure was 66.4 percent in 2012, rising to 68.8 percent in 2019.
  • Highly educated population: the fact that the contribution of education to well-being is measured here on the basis of the relative size of the highly educated population does not mean that other forms of education, such as vocational training and craftsmanship are not important for well-being. It is clear, however, that more highly educated people generally achieve a higher level of well-being in numerous areas of society (see Chapter 3). The highly educated population is measured as the percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 years who have obtained a tertiary education qualification (at the higher vocational education (HBO) or university education (WO) level). This share rose from 32.7 percent in 2012 to 39.7 percent in 2019.
  • Trust in institutions (SDG 16.6.2): this trust is measured as the percentage of the population aged 15 years and older who have sufficient trust in institutions (score of 6 or higher on a scale of 1–10). Three institutions are included here: the House of Representatives, the police and judges. The percentage of the population who trust these institutions rose from 57.5 in 2012, the first year of this measurement, to 63.1 in 2019.
  • Trust in other people: this refers to the percentage of the population aged 15 years and older who state that people in general are to be trusted. This share rose from 58.3 percent in 2012 to 61.8 percent in 2019.
  • Often feeling unsafe in the neighbourhood (SDG 16.1.4): this indicator is related to the percentage of people aged 15 years and older who often feel unsafe in their own neighbourhood. This percentage fell from 1.7 in 2012 to 1.4 in 2019.
  • Victims of crime (SDGs 11.7.2 and 16.1.3): measured as the percentage of the population aged 15 years and older who have been victims of crime as private persons. Cybercrime is not included in these figures. The percentage of victims of crime fell from 19.8 percent in 2012 to 13.7 percent in 2019.
  • Managed natural spaces in the Netherlands Nature Network (NNN): in the Netherlands, nature is protected within the NNN. This is the network of existing nature areas and those still to be created, including national parks and the Natura 2000 areas, as well as land farmed under agricultural nature management schemes and land purchased for nature development. In 2012, the area of the NNN encompassed 17.3 percent of the land surface of the Netherlands. In 2018, this share was 20.6 percent. These are preliminary figures.
  • Quality of inland bathing waters: the percentage that was of outstanding quality for the health of swimmers rose from 65.6 in 2012 to 73.8 in 2019.
  • Urban exposure to particulate matter (PM2.5) in urban areas (SDG 11.6.2): this exposure to particulate matter is expressed as the number of micrograms per m3. Particulate matter is harmful to health and leads in particular to a deterioration in the condition of people with cardiac and pulmonary diseases. Exposure to particulate matter fell from 13.6 percent in 2012 to 12.0 percent in 2018.

Decreasing well-being

The following indicators in the ‘here and now’ dashboard are moving in the direction associated with decreasing well-being:

  • Overweight population (SDG 2.2.2): the overweight population is measured as the percentage of the population aged 20 years and older with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 kg/m2 or higher. This share increased from 47.9 percent in 2012 to 51.0 percent in 2019.
  • Satisfaction with leisure time: this satisfaction is measured as the percentage of the population aged 18 years and older who are satisfied or very satisfied with the amount of leisure time that they have. This percentage fell from 75.7 in 2013 to 74.2 in 2019.
  • Time lost due to traffic congestion and delays: this measure of congestion on the main road network, from the KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis, is expressed in the number of vehicle hours lost per capita. This figure rose from 2.75 in 2012 to 3.85 in 2018.
  • Contact with family, friends or neighbours: these contacts are measured as the percentage of the population aged 15 years and older who meet family, friends or neighbours for social reasons at least once a week on average. This share fell from 76.2 percent in 2012 to 72.2 percent in 2019.
  • Voluntary work: this is the percentage of the population aged 15 years and older who did voluntary work for organisations or associations during the previous 12 months. This may involve committee or other activities. This share fell from 50.5 percent in 2012 to 46.7 percent in 2019.
  • Fresh water and marsh fauna: this indicator describes the trend in populations or distribution (depending on the species) of fauna typical of fresh water and marsh. The indicator is made up of underlying figures relating to 142 native species typical of fresh water and marsh: mammals (5 species), breeding birds (29 species), fish (36 species), amphibians (14 species), dragonflies (57 species) and butterflies (1 species). These species were selected because they are typical of fresh water and marsh. This indicator is an index based on 1990=100. After having risen for many years since 1990, this index fell from 143 in 2012 to 140 in 2018.

Trend changes

There were changes in the direction of the trend for seven indicators in the ‘here and now’ dashboard. For six indicators, the trend changed in a positive direction. In the previous trend period (2011–2018), the trends for ‘satisfaction with life’, ‘individual consumption’, ‘net labour participation’ and ‘often feeling unsafe in the neighbourhood’ were stable. These stable (grey) trends have now shifted to become green trends. For ‘job satisfaction (employees)’ and ‘satisfaction with the home’, the previous red trend shifted in the direction of a stable trend. In all these cases, there was progress from the point of view of well-being. Only the indicator ‘voluntary work’ shows a decline: while the trend for this indicator was previously stable (grey), it is now declining (red).

Most recent changes

For 10 indicators, the dashboard well-being ‘here and now’ shows a significant increase in well-being in the most recent year. The indicators ‘long-term unemployment’, ‘often feeling unsafe in the neighbourhood’, ‘victims of crime’ and perceived ‘environmental problems’ all registered a decline. These developments contributed to an increase in well-being in the most recent year. In that year, well-being also showed a significant rise in relation to ‘satisfaction with life’, ‘net labour participation’, ‘highly educated population’, ‘job satisfaction’, ‘quality of housing’ and ‘managed natural spaces in the NNN’.

In two cases – ‘fresh water and marsh fauna’ and ‘land fauna’ – there was a development that caused a significant decline in well-being in the most recent year.

Positions in the EU rankings

We indicate below the level of well-being ‘here and now’ in the Netherlands compared with the other 27 countries in the EU (the United Kingdom was still a member of the EU in 2019 and is included). Where possible, the Netherlands was compared with all EU member states (EU28); where no data (or no recent data) were available for all the countries, the comparison was made with fewer member states.

Summary overview

For four well-being themes, the Netherlands is ranked in the middle or high in the EU as regards indicators: ‘well-being’, ‘material well-being’ (see also the high scores for SDG 1 (No poverty) in figure 4.1.2), ‘labour and leisure time’ and ‘society’.

For the themes of ‘health’ and ‘environment’, the indicators occupy a middle to low position in the EU rankings. The low scores in the area of nature and the environment are consistent with the outcomes in Chapter 4, where it is shown that in the areas of SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy), SDG 13 (Climate action) and SDG 15 (Life on land), the Netherlands is doing relatively badly when compared with the other EU countries.

For the themes of ‘safety’ and ‘housing’, Dutch well-being is average by European standards.

Changed position in the EU rankings

The position in the EU rankings only changed significantly for a single indicator: while the Netherlands still occupied a middle position in the ranking for ‘perceived environmental problems’ in 2017 (17th out of the 28 countries), the country is now near the bottom of the list (22nd of the 28 countries).

A more specific look at the indicators within the various themes shows that the Netherlands is high in the European rankings for the following indicators:

Theme of well-being:

  • Satisfaction with life: 1st out of 16 countries (2018)
  • Feeling in control of own life: 4th out of 28 countries (2017)

Theme of material well-being:

  • Median disposable income: 7th out of 28 countries (2018)
  • Individual consumption: 5th out of 17 countries (2019)

Theme of labour and leisure time:

  • Net labour participation: 3rd out of 28 countries (2018)
  • Satisfaction with leisure time: 3rd out of 28 countries (2013)
  • Job satisfaction: 7th out of 28 countries (2017)

Theme of society:

  • Contact with family, friends or neighbours: 1st out of 16 countries (2018). The international comparison considers colleagues whom people meet socially, rather than neighbours.
  • Voice and accountability: 4th out of 28 countries (2018)
  • Trust in institutions (SDG 16.6.2): 2nd out of 16 countries (2018)
  • Trust in other people: 2nd out of 16 countries (2018)
  • Voluntary work: 1st out of 28 countries (2015)

For the following indicators, the Netherlands is low in the European rankings:

Theme of health:

  • Healthy life expectancy of women (SDG 3.4.1): 22nd out of 28 countries (2018) (In a European perspective, men occupy a middle position as regards healthy life expectancy).
  • Environmental problems: 22nd out of 28 countries (2018)

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 he 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.
2.2.2   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
Close this theme
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

2.3Well-being ‘later’

This section gives an overview of the trend of well-being ‘later’ in the period 2012–2019, the most recent year-on-year changes, and the position of the Netherlands in the EU rankings in the most recent year for which international data are available. It looks first at what is meant by well-being ‘later’.

Well-being ‘later’ concerns the resources that future generations need in order to achieve at least the same level of well-being as that of the current generation. The choices that the Dutch make collectively here and now have consequences for the future generations in the Netherlands. All manner of resources, referred to here as ‘capital’, are needed to maintain quality of life. We distinguish between economic, natural, human and social capital. The important thing is for the amount of capital per capita to be at least constant over the longer term.

Economic capital comprises the machinery and tools, ICT, knowledge capital and infrastructure that are necessary for creating material well-being and generating economic growth. These are physical capital goods that are mainly important for the economic process. Knowledge capital, boosted among other things through investment in research and development, is also important in order for the Dutch economy to function. Debt is considered to be negative economic capital.

Natural capital consists of various types of resources. This refers not only to raw materials (for the Netherlands mainly fossil fuels such as crude oil and natural gas), but also to the quality of nature and the environment. This includes biodiversity (measured on the basis of fresh water and marsh fauna, as well as land fauna, which can be seen as standards for species diversity); the general quality of the atmosphere (linked to COemissions); and the quality of soil, water and air locally. Capacity for renewable forms of energy is also included under natural capital, because this can counter the use of non-renewable energy sources as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

The factor ‘labour’ is central to human capital. This concerns not only the number of hours worked, but also the quality of the labour potential measured in terms of education level and health.

Lastly, social capital expresses the quality of social connections in society. Following the CES Recommendations (UNECE, 2014), it is measured as the extent of the trust that citizens have in one another and in the most important institutions. The literature on social capital underlines that in addition to the trust of all citizens, trust between different groups must also be examined. In the Monitor, this is shown by the indicator for feelings of discrimination. This describes the extent to which people feel part of specific groups in society that have the perception of not being able to participate fully in the social process or of not being fully accepted as they are.

2.3.1   Well-being 'later'

Economic capital

€ 148
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
7th
€ 10.91
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
1st
€ 99,972
23th
€ 38,400

Natural capital

0.5
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
7th
656.2
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
22nd
20.6%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
5.2
10th
162.9
17th
85
140
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
471
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
11th
12.0
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
8th
7.65
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
13th

Human capital

788.2
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
19th
39.7%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
11th
63.2
22nd
64.8
16th

Social capital

61.8%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
2nd
8.7%
12th
63.1%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
2nd

This dashboard shows, for each indicator successively, the most recent figure for the Netherlands, the trend in the period 2012–2019, a graph of the EU rankings and the position of the Netherlands in the EU.

The most important trends of well-being ‘later’ in the period 2012–2019 are described below.

Summary overview

For human capital and social capital, all indicators show a stable to rising trend. The picture for economic and natural capital is mixed, depending on the types of resources that are considered.

Increasing well-being

The following indicators in the ‘later’ dashboard are moving in the direction associated with increasing well-being:

  • Knowledge capital stock: knowledge capital comprises a number of intangible capital goods such as research and development capital, computer software and databases, and other intangible assets such as evaluation and exploration of mineral reserves, as well as original intellectual property rights. Knowledge capital is measured in euros per hour worked (in constant 2015 prices) and it rose from 9.1 euros in 2012 to 10.9 euros per hour worked in 2018.
  • Renewable electricity capacity: this capacity includes wind, water and solar energy. Capacity for generating electricity from biomass is not included in the calculations. This capacity, expressed in megawatts of electricity per million inhabitants, rose from 164.3 in 2012 to 656.2 in 2019.
  • Surface and groundwater abstraction: this is total fresh water abstraction (surface and groundwater) in m3 per capita. It refers to fresh water; extraction of brackish and salt water is not included. This water extraction fell from 641 m3 per capita in 2012 to 471 m3 per capita in 2018.
  • Hours worked: this is measured as the total number of hours that self-employed persons and employees actually worked, divided by the size of the population in persons. This number rose from 744.0 hours in 2012 to 788.2 in 2019.

Well-being also rose in ‘managed natural spaces in the NNN’, ‘urban exposure to particulate matter’ (SDG 11.6.2), ‘highly educated population’, ‘trust in other people’ and ‘trust in institutions’. These indicators, which also have an effect on well-being ‘here and now’, were discussed in the previous section.

Decreasing well-being

The following indicators in the ‘later’ dashboard are moving in the direction associated with decreasing well-being:

  • Physical capital stock: this refers to the tangible assets produced that are used in the production process for longer than one year. The physical capital stock is valued in constant 2015 prices and is expressed in terms of the value of the capital stock per hour worked. Agricultural assets are included. Hours worked are the total number of hours which employees and/or self-employed people have actually worked during the reporting period. Unworked hours resulting from leave or sickness therefore do not count. This capital stock declined from 151 euros per hour worked in 2012 to 148 euros in 2019.
  • Fossil energy reserves: these reserves are the amount of crude oil and natural gas that has been found in the Netherlands and that is also producible from a commercial and social point of view, increased by the amount of oil and gas pending development. These reserves are measured in terajoules per capita. Fossil energy reserves fell from 2.4 terajoules per capita in 2012 to 0.5 in 2019.
  • Cumulative COemissions: ideally, the theme of climate change should be described with the help of figures for the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Such concentration figures are difficult to obtain, so that it is also hard to define the contribution made by the Netherlands to the problem of CO2. For this reason, it was decided to calculate cumulative COemissions by the Netherlands from the beginning of the first industrial revolution, by adding up annual emissions from 1860. Obviously, this is a figure that cannot decrease. However, it has been included in the Monitor in order to illustrate the historical extent of the COproblem. Cumulative COemissions rose from 7.45 tonnes per capita in 2012 to 7.65 tonnes in 2019.

Fresh water and marsh fauna also showed a decline. This indicator has already been described for the ‘here and now’ dashboard.

The cumulative COemissions per capita indicator in the dashboard ‘later’ refers to the accumulated COemissions from the beginning of the industrial revolution, for which 1860 was chosen as the starting year. Each year, the sum is calculated of the annual COemissions up to that point, and the total is then divided by the size of the population, from 1860 to the present. These cumulative emissions over the long term are of course important, because they have an impact on the quality of the atmosphere and in all likelihood contribute to global warming. Recent emissions series show the extent to which the historical trend of rising emissions (and concentration) of CO2 is being reversed. This indicator (total greenhouse gas emissions calculated according to the IPCC rules) is part of SDG 13 (Climate action) in Chapter 4. Per capita annual greenhouse gas emissions on Dutch territory (SDG 13.2.1) are gradually decreasing. In 2012, the total was 11.7 tonnes of COequivalents per capita, falling to 10.9 in 2018. For this Monitor, CBS has calculated a preliminary figure for 2019, in accordance with the methodology of the Netherlands Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM) and based largely on data from the Dutch Emissions Authority (NEa). This figure is 10.5 tonnes per capita, so the decline is continuing. The objective resulting from the verdict in the Urgenda climate case (June 2015) was to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent compared with 1990 levels as of 2020. With one more year to go, 70.8 percent of this target has been achieved. This is not a target per capita.

Trend changes

There has been a trend shift for two indicators in the ‘later’ dashboard. ‘Physical capital stock’, which was previously stable, now shows a downward trend. For hours worked, we can see an improvement, with a previously stable trend changing to a rising trend.

Most recent changes

As with well-being ‘here and now’, it appears that well-being ‘later’ also rose for a number of indicators in the most recent year. A significant increase can be observed for two indicators: ‘managed natural spaces in the NNN’ and ‘highly educated population’. For ‘fossil energy reserves’, ‘land fauna’ and ‘fresh water and marsh fauna’, a significant decline in well-being can be seen in the last year.

Positions in the EU rankings

We indicate below the level of well-being ‘later’ in the Netherlands compared with other countries in the EU. Where possible, the Netherlands was compared with all EU member states (EU28). Where no data (or no recent data) were available for all the countries, the Netherlands was compared with fewer member states.

With regard to social capital, the Netherlands occupies an average to high position in the EU rankings. In contrast, for human and natural capital, the country has an average to low score. For natural capital, we see these relatively low scores again in Chapter 4 in relation to SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy), SDG 13 (Climate action) and SDG 15 (Life on land).

The picture is mixed for economic capital.

Changed position in the EU rankings

One of the indicators of the ‘later’ dashboard has shifted so far in the EU rankings that the colour code has changed: the position of ‘phosphorus surplus’ switched from red to grey.

A more specific look at the indicators within the various themes shows that the Netherlands is high in the European rankings for the following indicators:

Theme of economic capital:

  • Knowledge capital stock: 1st out of 12 countries (2018)

Theme of social capital:

  • Trust in other people: 2nd out of 16 countries (2018)
  • Trust in institutions: 2nd out of 16 countries (2018)

For the following indicators, the Netherlands is low in the European rankings:

Theme of economic capital:

  • Average household debt: 23rd out of 25 countries (2018)

Theme of natural capital:

  • Renewable electricity capacity: 22nd out of 26 countries (2018)
  • Nitrogen surplus: 17th out of 17 countries (2017)
  • Surface and groundwater abstraction: 11th out of 14 countries (2017)
  • Cumulative COemissions: 13th out of 17 countries (2014)

Theme of human capital:

  • Healthy life expectancy of women (SDG 3.4.1): 22nd out of 28 countries (2018)
2.3.2   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
Close this theme
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

2.4Well-being ‘elsewhere’

This section gives an overview of the trend of well-being ‘elsewhere’ in the period 2012–2019, the most recent year-on-year changes, and the position of the Netherlands in the EU rankings in the most recent year for which international data are available. We first look at the structure of the ‘elsewhere’ dashboard.

The well-being ‘elsewhere’ dashboard describes the way in which the Netherlands generates its well-being ‘here and now’ and the effects that this has on the rest of the world. To this end, following the CES Recommendations, the flows of income and resources between the Netherlands and other countries are identified and documented.

This dashboard pays particular attention to the very poorest developing countries, the LDCs. This emphasis on the poorest countries is in line with the recommendations of the Brundtland report (WCED, 1987), the study that inspired the system used in the Monitor for measuring well-being. This report contends that well-being in the world can only be maintained sustainably if there is more even distribution between north and south. This theme is also a fundamental aspect of the SDG agenda. The agenda also centres on the way in which the poorest countries could reach a higher level of well-being in 2030 and what western countries can do to support this process of increasing well-being.

In the CES Recommendations, sustainable development is therefore a question of fair distribution. This is not only a matter of fair distribution of well-being between the current generation and future generations in the Netherlands, but also of fair distribution between the high-income and the poorer countries. In this connection, it is made clear that the Monitor only builds up a picture of the most important income and resource flows; it is for politics and society to select what it considers to be desirable or fair. The Monitor provides the figures that enable that debate to be conducted.

This approach, which takes ‘elsewhere’ into account, is generally not included in the description of well-being. Most countries limit themselves to a comparison of the manner in which well-being ‘here and now’ develops and how the consumption of non-renewable resources in particular puts pressure on well-being in the future. It is understandable that such a perspective is lacking in most countries: to date there are few indicators available to describe fully the flow of income and resources between countries and at a global scale.

The CES Recommendations also show this. The ‘elsewhere’ dimension can only be shown properly if, in addition to the income flows, we can also describe all the capital flows (natural, economic, human and social capital). Furthermore, it is essential to obtain a good understanding of the ecological footprint that the Netherlands leaves in the rest of the world.

As far as the import figures for raw materials are concerned, it must be noted that these include re-exports. This means that particular goods which are immediately exported to other countries following minor processing in the Netherlands are included in the figures. In consequence, some researchers feel that the picture of the environmental burden that the Netherlands places on the rest of the world is too sombre. There are two comments to be made on this subject. First, it cannot be said that the Netherlands enjoys no economic benefit from re-exports, as the storage and transhipment activities, in particular those of the Port of Rotterdam and the transport sector, make substantial profits from this business. Second, CBS has carried out a sensitivity analysis to see whether the Netherlands, even after a tentative correction for re-exports, still occupies the low position in the EU rankings that has been reported for years (Langenberg and Smits, 2015). Even after such a correction, the Netherlands is still shown to be a major (per capita) importer of non-renewable resources. It would be best if the figures for imports could be adjusted for re-exports, but this is still very difficult from a technical point of view.

This edition of the Monitor, too, emphasises income flows (theme ‘trade and aid’) and the use that the Netherlands makes of the natural capital of other countries (theme ‘the environment and resources’).

2.4.1   Well-being 'elsewhere'

Trade and aid

€ 26,515
€ 16,199
€ 705
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
€ 3,136
€ 6,165
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
€ 130
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
€ 185
2nd
0.6%
6th
1.5%
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
4th

Environment and resources

13.4
28th
76.0
The long-term trend indicates a rise in broad well-being
2.6
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
25th
21.1
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
2.6
26th
2.3
5.1
The long-term trend indicates a decline in broad well-being
28th
16.4
17.0

This dashboard shows, for each indicator successively, the most recent figure for the Netherlands, the trend in the period 2012–2019, a graph of the EU rankings and the position of the Netherlands in the EU.

In the theme ‘trade and aid’, we look at the way in which the Netherlands can make a positive contribution to the well-being of other countries. In this context, in line with the Brundtland report, special attention is paid to the income flows between the Netherlands and the LDCs. Imports by the Netherlands from developing countries are assumed to have a positive influence on the well-being of our trading partners: this trade provides employment and generates income for producers and traders in those countries. This naturally depends on the products that are traded. Imports of non-renewable resources can be considered more critically from an ecological point of view. This aspect of trade is described in the theme ‘the environment and raw materials’. In contrast to previous editions, imports are now also classified according to the parts of the world that they come from. This makes it possible to determine whether or not trade with the Global South has intensified. After all, the ways in which the western world (Global North) is connected economically with the developing countries (Global South) is an important subject in the Brundtland report.

Another way of positively influencing well-being in developing countries is through the remittances by migrants to their country of origin or through development aid. An increase in these financial flows is shown as green in the dashboard.

Some forms of trade can be considered more critically from the point of view of well-being, in particular imports of raw materials. The theme ‘the environment and resources’ looks at the degree to which the Netherlands puts pressure on the environment or the stocks of raw materials of other countries. As mentioned previously, trade is seen in principle as being beneficial to well-being (see the dimension ‘trade and aid’). However, if it causes the stock of natural capital to decline, trade potentially has an adverse effect on the development of well-being over the long term, just as in the ‘later’ dashboard. Furthermore, it is important to have an understanding of the ecological footprint that the Netherlands leaves in the rest of the world. It is possible in theory for the Netherlands to meet all kinds of sustainability standards, but to move its polluting activities ‘elsewhere’ and, for example, to import products that have been manufactured in a very environmentally unfriendly fashion.

Why is it important to focus specifically on imports of natural resources from the LDCs? In many African countries in particular, this trade in natural resources leads to problems that can reduce well-being there. The proceeds from the exports from Africa specifically are predominantly spent on consumption and tend to benefit a small elite. When the prices of raw materials are high, labour and capital are increasingly invested in exploiting natural resources. This contributes to a one-sided economic structure. In the literature this is often referred to as the ‘resource curse’.

Furthermore, there is a strong relationship between the extent to which countries are dependent on natural resources for their economic growth and the degree of social inequality and corruption, and the emergence of tensions in society. This ‘resource curse’ is by no means unavoidable: Botswana and Chile are examples of countries where the proceeds of exports of natural resources have benefited large sections of the population.

The most important trends in of well-being ‘elsewhere’ in the period 2012–2019 are described below.

Summary overview

The theme ‘trade and aid’ shows a stable to positive development. The trend for development cooperation is stable and the same is true of Dutch imports from the LDCs. The trend for imports from the whole of Africa (both LDCs and non-LDCs) is downward. In contrast, remittances by migrants to family members in their country of origin have risen. There is a varied picture for the theme ‘the environment and resources’.

Increasing well-being

The following indicators in the ‘elsewhere’ dashboard are moving in the direction associated with increasing well-being:

  • Imports of goods from Asia: per capita value in euros (current prices) of goods imported from Asian countries. In the period 2012–2019, these imports rose from 5,006 to 6,165 euros per capita.
  • Imports of goods from Oceania: value in euros (current prices) per capita of goods imported from Oceania. In the period 2012–2019, these imports rose from 87 to 130 euros per capita.
  • Remittances: money transfers by migrants from the Netherlands to people in their country of origin. This amount is expressed as a percentage of GDP and it rose from 1.1 percent in 2012 to 1.5 percent in 2018.
  • Fossil fuel imports from LDCs: these trade figures were derived from the ‘material flow accounts’ and are expressed in kg per capita. Imports fell from 152.7 kg in 2012 to 76.0 kg in 2019, so that relatively less demand was being made on the natural capital of the LDCs.

Decreasing well-being

The following indicators in the ‘later’ dashboard are moving in the direction associated with decreasing well-being:

  • Imports of goods from Africa: value in euros (current prices) per capita of goods imported from African countries. In the period 2012–2019, these imports fell from 976 euros to 705 euros per capita.
  • Imports of metals (total, all countries): quantity of metals imported in tonnes per capita, from all countries of the world. These imports rose in the period 2012–2019 from 2.2 tonnes to 2.6 tonnes per capita. From the point of view of sustainability, the Netherlands laid a greater claim to the natural capital of other countries.
  • Imports of metals from LDCs: these imports increased from 3.9 kg per capita in 2012 to 21.1 kg in 2019.
  • Imports of biomass (total, from all countries): these imports are expressed in the amount of biomass and derived products, mainly of organic material, in tonnes per capita. It might be surprising that imports of biomass are seen in the Monitor as undesirable from the point of view of well-being. Surely it is much better for the Netherlands to import biomass rather than fossil fuels. That is certainly the case, but by importing biomass, the Netherlands is also laying claim to natural resources elsewhere in the world. In addition, it is not always clear whether the biomass really has been produced in a sustainable way. The amount of imported biomass rose from 4.6 tonnes per capita in 2012 to 5.1 tonnes in 2019.

Trend changes

There were trend shifts for seven indicators in the ‘elsewhere’ dashboard. For four indicators, the switch was in a positive direction: for ‘development aid’, ‘biomass imports from LDCs’ and ‘fossil fuel imports’, the trend colour moved from red to grey. The indicator ‘imports of goods from Asia’ changed from grey to green in the last year: the formerly stable picture has now become a significantly rising trend. This indicates an increase in well-being. For ‘imports of metals (from the whole world)’ and ‘imports of metals from LDCs’, the trend colour was previously grey and changed to red. The trend of ‘imports of non-metallic minerals (from the whole world)’ was previously green and is now grey. In the case of these indicators, well-being has declined.

Most recent changes

For the dashboard well-being ‘elsewhere’, the picture is neutral with regard to the most recent changes. Only the sharp increase in the ‘greenhouse gas footprint’ had a negative effect on well-being.

Positions in the EU rankings

We describe below the level of well-being ‘elsewhere’ for the Netherlands compared with other countries in the EU28.

Summary overview

As regards the value of ‘total imports from LDCs’, ‘development aid’ and ‘remittances’ from the theme ‘trade and aid’, the Netherlands is at the top of the EU rankings. In contrast, for the theme ‘the environment and resources’, the Netherlands is in the lower regions of that list.

A more specific look at the indicators within the various themes shows that the Netherlands is high in the European rankings for the following indicators:

Theme of trade and aid:

  • Total imports from LDCs (SDG 17.11.1): 2nd out of 28 countries (2018)
  • Development aid (SDG 17.2.1): 6th out of 25 countries (2018)
  • Remittances (SDG 17.3.2): 4th out of 28 countries (2018)

For a number of indicators, the Netherlands scores low in the EU rankings:

Theme of the environment and resources:

  • Fossil fuel imports: 28th out of 28 countries (2018)
  • Imports of metals: 25th out of 28 countries (2018)
  • Imports of non-metallic minerals: 26th out of 28 countries (2018)
  • Biomass imports: 28th out of 28 countries (2018)
2.4.2   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
Close this theme
No dataEU rankingThe bars show the Netherlands’ ranking in the European Union for each indicator.Low rankingHigh rankingMiddle rankingKeyGDPper capitaTrade and aid080709 Environment and resources101112131514161817010203040605