Way of Life in the Netherlands

This is a part of Parenting Around the World Series – August.

The country we have chosen for August is the Netherlands

The Netherlands is located in the north-western parts of Europe. The total area of the country is about 16000 sq miles and it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The interesting fact about the country is that it takes only about three hours to traverse from one border of the country to the other.  

Some Laws affecting the social & societal components:

  • The Netherlands had done away with the death penalty way back in 1870.
  • Women in the country acquired the right to vote in 1917
  • The country legalized same-sex marriage in 2001, and this was the first country to do so.
  • Has legalized abortion and prostitution.
  • And legalized Euthanasia through the Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide Act in 2001.


Way of life in the Netherlands

Working conditions in t eh Netherlands:

The working hours here are very decent providing the people an opportunity to create the perfect work-life balance. This concept of balancing work and family is principally supported by the Dutch government. Also, Dutch people start their workday early and leave the office early. People here enjoy a higher standard of living. Dutch people are ranked as one of the highest on the happiness index and quality of life.

Travel in the Netherlands:

The country being quite small in size makes travel easy – in fact, one can explore all the key attractions of the place in a day itself. It is also quite easy to travel to neighboring countries in a day’s time and hence people travel to France, Luxembourg, Germany, and Belgium often for work.

The country has amazing picturesque outdoor locales and is idle for pursuing your love for cycling and walking on foot. Biking is one of the main forms of transport used in the country. Also since The Netherlands is surrounded by water, boats also are a key means to travel in the country. 

People of The Netherlands:

People of the Netherlands are known to be straight talkers and hence it is very easy to communicate with them. All the people here are comfortable talking in English which is again a big advantage for everyone traveling into the country. The people of this country are warm & welcoming and believe in inclusivity. There is no significant focus on social class or race and it is a common sight to see a mixed crowd in the bars.


Fathers get to enjoy paid paternal leaves here and are also eligible for paid leaves if the kids are not well.


Most Dutch women believe in giving birth at home. The entire process is supervised by trained midwives who are also qualified to support with prenatal care. New mothers enjoy maternity care through the country’s healthcare system post giving birth and working women are entitled to paid maternal leaves.


In 2013 UNICEF declared that Dutch kids are the happiest children in the world. Compared to all other Western cultures, the Dutch culture is open and teaches kids about the need to use contraception for safe sex, parents and kids have open conversation about sex and the country has one of the lowest reported cases of teen pregnancy and abortions in the world. 

The mandatory schooling age in the Netherlands is 5 years though kids below this age attend playschools so that they are able to learn essential life skills, socializing being one of the core skills that Dutch kids get to learn at this age. 

Parents ensure that their kids follow the three basic rules through and through – Rest, regularity and cleanliness. Sleep and healthy habits are stressed upon by parents.

Role of Government:

Employees are entitled to child benefit while the government fiercely supports the Child-Friendly Cities Network under which every residential land needs to reserve 3% of the total land for children’ playgrounds, sandboxes, and more such areas to protect the interest of small kids. The National Youth Council made up of at least 30 or more children welfare organizations meet the government regularly to discuss enhancements of policies pertaining to kids.

Look out for this space for the next article on Parenting in the Netherlands next week.

Happy Parenting!

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