According to the 11th edition of the KidsRights Index, the overall rights and well-being of children in the Netherlands have worsened considerably, with the country falling a dramatic 16 places since last year’s ranking

KidsRights Index 2023 

Every year, the KidsRights Index is carried out by the KidsRights Foundation and the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, highlighting the extent to which children’s rights are respected and prioritised in countries around the world. The 2023 report features a total of 193 countries – all of which are UN member states that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – and assess each one against the five key components of the convention:

  • Right to life
  • Right to health
  • Right to education
  • Right to protection
  • Enabling environment for child rights

Each country is scored out of 10 across all five categories. These scores are then used to calculate a geometric average, which is then used to rank all of the 193 nations. 

On the whole, research conducted over the past 12 months “results in a complex and gloomy picture of children’s rights across the world,” the KidsRights website reads. According to KidsRights’ founder and chair, Marc Dullaert, a number of factors – including the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and the ongoing war in Ukraine – has resulted in a “polycrisis” which is “ likely to take a further toll on children in the years to come, because it seems there is no time for recovery if crises after crises occur and reinforce each other in a negative spiral.”

Europe continues to dominate the top 10 of the KidsRights index, although this year does see Sweden rise from second place into first, knocking the long-reigning victor Iceland off the top spot. Finland’s score has also improved, with the country rising from third place to second. At the other end, Chad continues to occupy the bottom spot. 

The Netherlands falls 16 places in children’s rights ranking  

While over the years the Netherlands has consistently managed to claim a spot in the top 10, this year sees the country fall a dramatic 16 places, from a respectable fourth-place position in 2022 to 20th place. It is one of 15 countries which has shown poorer results than in last year’s report. While last year the country scored 0,910, this year it achieves a score of just 0,855.

The Netherlands continues to perform well when it comes to education and protection, the country experienced sharp drops in scores when it came to healthcare and environment. While last year the Netherlands was in the 34-45th place range when it came to an enabling environment, this year it has fallen to the 83-114th place range, with a score of just 0,500.

Dullaert highlighted various reasons for the Netherlands’ sudden drop in 2023. Talking to NOS, he explained that backlogs in youth care and child protection lead to long wait times for vulnerable children. According to Dullaert, the Netherlands is great “If you are healthy and if your parents earn enough…But as soon as things don’t go well with you, it becomes problematic.” He says the country’s score in 2023 is something “to be ashamed of”.

Best countries in the world for children’s rights

According to the latest edition of the KidsRights Index, the top 10 countries in the world when it comes to children’s rights are: 

  1. Sweden – 0,913
  2. Finland – 0,908
  3. Iceland – 0,907
  4. Luxembourg – 0,903
  5. Germany – 0,898
  6. Greece – 0,898
  7. Denmark – 0,890
  8. Thailand – 0,885
  9. Norway – 0,881
  10. Slovenia – 0,880

For more information about the ranking, visit the KidsRights website.

Thumb: Ruud Morijn Photographer via

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