The best place to live in the Netherlands is not in the Randstad, but the Northern Netherlands – at least according to a study by the University of Utrecht and Rabobank.
Translation by Hans de Preter and Traci White
The municipalities in the north of Drenthe – Assen, Noordenveld, Aa and Hunze, Tynaarlo and Midden-Drenthe – scored the highest of all Dutch regions in terms of prosperity, according to regional broadcaster RTV Drenthe.
The General Well-Being Indicator (Brede Welvaartsindicator 2019) is an annual inventory of how prosperous 40 different regions are across the country. 2019. Northern Drenthe scored quite high on almost all criteria of prosperity, which goes well beyond household income levels: safety, education and the environment are particularly good in Northern Drenthe compared to the rest of the Netherlands.
However, levels of well-being were not evenly distributed across the north: Souteast Friesland and Coevorden, Borger-Odoorn and Emmen in the southeast of Drenthe scored less well, due in large part to lower levels of higher education participation and lower income.
The eleven dimensions that researchers examined were subjective well-being, health, education, environment, safety, income, labour, social contact, civic engagement, work/life balance and satisfaction with housing. Sjoerd Hardeman, who was involved in the indicator, said that educational access is a crucial component in general well-being: there are fewer jobs in the southern reaches of the province that require highly educated employees, and lower education levels have also been linked to worse health and higher unemployment.
Southwest Friesland came in second place overall in terms of satisfaction with their general living conditions. Eastern Groningen and Delfzijl were among the lowest scoring in general terms of perceptions of well-being.
Many residents of the northern municipalities of Drenthe also indicated that they were generally happy and satisfied with life, their homes and their jobs, but another variable that could influence the results is age: the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe have among the highest percentage of pensioners in the country.
The researchers involved in the 2019 reported that this year marks the first time that general well-being is higher than prior to the financial crisis which began in 2008.