The Netherlands has fallen out of the top five in the latest edition of the UN’s ranking of the world’s happiest countries. In 2013, the Netherlands was in fourth place, but has now fallen three places to seventh, and its score has also gone down marginally.
The Swiss are the happiest people in the world, having taken the top spot from the Danes who fall to third place. Iceland is in second place. The Netherlands has been overtaken in the index by Norway, Canada and Finland.
The bottom three countries are Togo, Burundi and Syria.
The research is published by the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network and aims to show that ‘well-being and happiness are critical indicators of a nation’s economic and social development, and should be a key aim of policy’.
‘A positive outlook during the early stages of life is inherently desirable, but it also lays the foundation for greater happiness during adulthood,’ said LSE professor Richard Layard, who is one of the report’s editors.
‘As we consider the value of happiness in today’s report, we must invest early on in the lives of our children so that they grow to become independent, productive and happy adults, contributing both socially and economically.’
Several other reports show Dutch children are among the happiest in the world.
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