Netherlands Ranked As One Of The Worlds Worst Countries For Making Friends

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The Netherlands has secured a spot in the bottom 10 in a new report ranking countries around the world for how easy it is for expats living there to make new friends.

Finding Friends Global Ranking 2020

The 2020 report examined 58 countries around the world, placing the Netherlands in the 50th spot. The Netherlands was out-ranked by a number of European countries, including Spain (13th), Ireland (26th), the United Kingdom (43rd), and France (45th).

The ranking was published by InterNations, a network of expats around the world, as part of their annual Expat Insider survey. InterNations asked over 1.500 expats living in 181 countries around the world to provide information on various aspects of daily life. Participants rated 65 different aspects to expat life on a scale of one to seven, considering both emotional and factual influences.   

Making friends in the Netherlands

Responses to the survey made it clear that, on the whole, expats living in the Netherlands find it difficult to connect with people and make friends. 52 percent of expats in the Netherlands find it difficult to make friends with the locals, compared to the global average of 38 percent. 

InterNations discovered that 51 percent of expats in the Netherlands belong to a friendship group made up of other expats, compared to 35 percent of expats globally. Only 11 percent of expats in the Netherlands are mainly friends with locals. This is likely due to the fact that a fifth of internationals living in the Netherlands find the Dutch unfriendly towards foreign residents. 

A number of participants in the survey stated that the Dutch were generally not very keen on making friends with expats. One Swedish expat living in Eindhoven said “People are friendly but not very open to making non-Dutch friends,” while an American expat living in Maastricht explained that it was hard to meet and befriend locals, and that the Dutch language presented a significant barrier. 

The rankings have revealed a trend among Northern European countries, as Germany (47th), Austria (49th), Switzerland (53rd), Finland (51st), Norway (55th), Sweden (56th), and Denmark (58th) all performed poorly in the survey. 

The best countries for making friends

According to the findings of the survey, these are some of the best countries in the world to make new friends as an expat:

  1. Mexico
  2. Bahrain
  3. Ecuador
  4. Colombia
  5. Panama
  6. Taiwan
  7. Malaysia 
  8. Indonesia
  9. Argentina 
  10. Philippines

The worst countries for making friends

These were the countries occupying the bottom 10 spots, making them the worst countries when it comes to reaching out making new friends:

  1. Denmark
  2. Kuwait
  3. Sweden
  4. Norway
  5. Japan
  6. Switzerland
  7. South Korea
  8. Finland
  9. The Netherlands
  10. Austria

To find more information about the Expat Insider survey, visit the InterNations website.