So, the news is in. The Netherlands is amongst the top 5 best countries in the world to raise a child. It seems like you’ve picked a good place to live, especially if you want to have a family.

No this is the Netherlands, not Spain. Really.

 

The same report from Save the Children found that the United Kingdom, the place where I was born and spent most of my 24 years on this planet, came 22nd on the list. That’s quite a large difference between where I am from and where I live now.

From living in both countries, the standard of living that I have observed has been relatively similar. There’s no major conceptual gap between how I lived in England and how I live now in the land of klompen and kaas. Basically, on the surface – apart from the divergence in our national preferences for how many ways you can fry a potato – there isn’t much to be said.

Also: rain

That Dutch feeling

The main difference for me between the land of my birth and my adopted homeland is something much more abstract. It’s a feeling, more than anything. Perhaps it’s where I live or the people I have met, but there is an air of contentment that enters you as soon as you touch down at Schiphol that I can’t put my finger on.

I believe that this is what separates the Netherlands from the UK. But something is causing this feeling.

Maybe it’s the fact that even though the Netherlands is the 30th most densely populated country in the world, you can mostly always find well-kept green space. Or is it the fact that new parents can take a papadag or a mamadag to be with their young children? Or the dedicated biking culture.

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I think that this abstract concept basically means that I love the Dutch approach to life. I can’t be the only foreigner living here that feels it.

 

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