The Dutch national statistics agency has looking into regional differences in happiness between 2013 and 2019
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported by the Omrop Fryslân, a study conducted by the CBS has suggested that people in Friesland are the happiest in the Netherlands. “We have lots of space, and no traffic. I really like living here”, says one Friesland resident. Another resident reportedly said: “naturally, we have lots of lovely nature here, we’re outside a lot, and I think that we’re mostly happy in the Province!”
The Chief Economist at the CBS, Peter Hein van Mulligen, says that “Frisian people are a little happier than the rest of the Netherlands. The differences aren’t huge, Friesland’s results jump out a bit. We call it the ‘Frisian paradox’, where incomes are some of the lowest: normally when people have low incomes they are also less happy. But that doesn’t seem to apply in Friesland, so there must be something else playing a role.”
Van Mulligen added several possibilities for this ‘vitamin Fries’: “it could be that the social links between people are somewhat stronger, and so you have less lonely people. It’s also possible that the generally good health in the Province is important, as we find that people in Friesland tend to be a little healthier than other Dutch regions.”
Natural open spaces seem to be an important component of this, too. People in cities tend to report being less happy due to looser social ties, and report being made unhappy by crime and unclean air. In Friesland, lots of respondents said that they didn’t want to live in a city in any case. One man that lives outside of Tytsjerk, reportedly said “no, I would not [live in a city], that won’t happen. Absolutely not.”
Even within Friesland, it seems that those living more in Northerly locales are happier than their Southern counterparts.