While the Netherlands achieved a fairly average overall score in InterNations’ new Expat Essentials Index, the country came out bottom when it came to the affordability and accessibility of housing

InterNations Expat Essentials Index 2023 

As part of their annual Expat Insider Survey, InterNations – a network of expats around the world – asked 12.000 expats living in 181 different counties and representing a total of 177 nationalities to provide information on various aspects of expat life. Participants were asked to rate up to 56 different factors split across five different categories on a scale of one to seven. 

One of those five categories is Expat Essentials, which covers four key topics: 

  • Digital Life: Availability of administrative services online, high-speed internet, cashless payment services and unrestricted access to online services (e.g. social media).
  • Housing: Access to affordable housing, ease of finding somewhere to live.
  • Admin Topics: Ease of local bureaucracy, opening a bank account and getting a visa.
  • Language: Ease of living without speaking the language, ease of learning the language.

The survey responses across these four topics were used to put together the Expat Essentials Index-  which only features countries which had a sample size of at least 50 survey participants – in order to determine in which countries and nations it is easiest for expats to set up their new lives. 

Of the 52 countries included in the study, Bahrain came out on top, performing particularly well in the Admin Topics, Housing, and Language categories. On the other end of the spectrum was Germany, occupying 52nd place and ranking lower than countries such as China, France and Kuwait. 

Expats: Dutch housing market is impossible to navigate

On the whole, the Netherlands’ performance in this edition of the Expat Essentials Index isn’t particularly notable. Coming in 25th out of 52, the country scored higher than the likes of Sweden, Denmark and New Zealand, and was especially praised for its digital infrastructure.

The Netherlands achieved spots in the top 10 when it came to the ease of living without speaking the language, as well as the ease of obtaining a visa, the availability of administrative services online, and the accessibility of online services. What will come as no surprise to many living and working in the Netherlands, however, is the fact that the country was seriously let down by the current state of the Dutch housing market, and the overall inaccessibility and unaffordability of housing. 

Out of the 52 countries and nations included in the ranking, the Netherlands came 49th in the Housing subcategory, meaning it is one of the worst countries out of those ranked for finding housing as an expat. According to InterNations, 53 percent of expats in the Netherlands have difficulty finding housing (compared to a global average of just 27 percent), while 69 percent consider property on the Dutch housing market “unaffordable”.

While perhaps disappointing, the Netherlands’ performance in this area is not surprising: despite multiple efforts from municipalities and the Dutch government to build new homes and protect the rental market in cities, the country continues to face a serious shortage of housing. According to recent data, while the cost of buying a house is expected to fall in 2023, first-time buyers can afford just 3 percent of homes in the Netherlands.

Best and worst countries for settling in as an expat

According to the 2023 Expat Essentials Index, the countries in which it’s easiest for expats to set up a new life are:

  1. Bahrain
  2. UAE
  3. Singapore
  4. Estonia
  5. Oman
  6. Indonesia
  7. Saudi Arabia
  8. Qatar
  9. Kenya
  10. Canada

On the other hand, the worst expat destinations according to expats themselves are:

  1. Germany
  2. Japan
  3. China
  4. Kuwait
  5. Italy
  6. Greece
  7. Vietnam
  8. Czechia
  9. France
  10. Malta

For more information, visit the InterNations website.

Thumb: Dutchmen Photography via Shutterstock.com.

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