Saturday 11 July 2020

Happy and healthy: one in five Dutch is super smiley


Is life a bed of tulips? Photo:

Whatever the weather, one in five Dutch adults feels glowing.

This is the message from a Dutch Statistics Office study of 7,500 people between 2013 and 2017.

A detailed investigation of the figures, first released in March, was published on Friday. It reveals that – perhaps unsurprisingly – people who rate their happiness at 9 or 10 out of 10 are more likely to be healthy, in close contact with family and friends, trusting of strangers and working actively as a volunteer.

The super smileys tend to be married, in the highest income band and working – while divorcees, the lowest-educated and poorest-paid most often say they feel unhappy.

A group of 3% of Dutch over-18s who rate themselves as seriously unhappy is also more likely to have health problems.

‘Some people are notably happier than others, and you could think that the reasons are obvious but it is good to underline them with statistics,’ said Tanja Traag, a sociologist for the CBS to

‘We have been investigating happiness since 2013 and we are continually looking to understand it. We have seen people who are happy are more likely to be married, employed and healthy, and what makes you happy is also that you are not actively unhappy. But there is a great difference from one person to another.’

The study is one of a number of investigations into why Dutch people young and old report relatively high levels of life satisfaction. It asked people to rate themselves on a scale from 1 to 10 on ‘how much you find yourself a happy person’ with 1 being completely miserable and 10 absolutely content.

Investigations, said Traag, continue.

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