So there is the great article in The Independent currently doing the rounds. Its been popping up on my Facebook newsfeed and a friend even posted it on my wall – I think my infatuation with The Netherlands has reached a whole never level. I love it!
How part-time work and exercise may explain why Holland is one of the happiest countries in the world
I’ve touched upon Holland being one of the happiest countries before. A recent survey even said that 84% of expats rate their quality of life in the Netherlands as good to great. So why is it? Why is Holland one of the happiest places? Is it the legalisation of mood enhancing drugs? The freedom of sexuality? The general acceptance to drink small cups of beer all day? The bitterballen? Cant a fried ball of meat be the reason?
Well no, obviously not. As much as these suggestions are totally plausible in making The Netherlands the happiest place in the world, The Independent suggests that working shorter hours and exercising more is there USP (for those none-au fait with business lingo that means Unique Selling Point). The shorter working hours – I hear ya! The exercise…well lets be honest I could do a damn sight more than I do currently.
Now you would be forgiven in thinking that the two compliment one another, working fewer hours = more time for the gym, but that isn’t necessarily the case. The Dutch, like many european countries in my experience, live their lives at a slower pace. The deals are just as important but the details are more thoroughly considered. There not a “this should have been done yesterday” attitude that we get in the UK. Its more of a “maybe tomorrow” attitude that I am totally down for. Working fewer hours makes the hours at work more productive allowing for ‘non working hours’ to be spent with the family or on hobbies. Lets not forget the legs and bums of the Dutch with all that cycling – having a lover body like that is enough to make anyone happy.
On a serious note – we have a lot to learn from the Dutch. I think our problem in England is securing this work-life balance. At what price is having a few hours with your family? Taking the kids to something new? Sitting around a dinner table and bonding over your experiences. In my opinion thats what makes you happy. The science behind the endorphins or whatever they are called when you exercise work too don’t get me wrong. Exercise probably is the key to happiness. You don’t exactly regret buying a smaller size pair of trousers or running up that flight of stairs without breaking a sweat!
Well Done Holland for being one of the happiest places in the world – you make me happy and I am sure you make many others like me happy to and I don’t even live there…yet!
P.S. As some of you know I had another little trip to the Orange Lands for this coming weekend. Due to circumstances out of my control that trip has been put on hold for a short while.