When moving countries, one of the most important (but also trickiest) aspects of feeling a sense of home is creating a social circle. For most people, having friends and sharing experiences is a very important part of life. Unfortunately, the Dutch are not well known for their openness to new friendships.
In fact, according to research the Netherlands is one of the most difficult countries in the world to make friends. This is apparent from a large international survey among expats. Of the 68 countries included in the survey, the Netherlands is in 56th place when it comes to 'finding friends'. That is striking, since the the country is doing better in other areas such as quality of life, leisure and travel.
On average, the Netherlands is in 16th place in the list of 'best countries for expats'. This is mainly due to a good score for our quality of life, the work that can be found here and the ease of living with children.
The best country for expats is oil state Bahrain. An Indian expat says in the research: "I don't feel like an expat here. I feel at home here." 53 percent of all residents of Bahrain come from abroad, which probably contributes to the pleasant business climate. The worst performing country this year is Kuwait, where expats report unpleasant experience in almost all areas of living.
The survey, the 'Expat Insider', is held every year among thousands of expats. In the last survey (2018), Sweden is one of the big droppers. The country plunges 24 places in the list. "It is very difficult for non-Swedes to fit in. They are not as social here as in other countries, and less inclined to connect to people they don't know well," one writes.
Chances are that this is also the reason that expats find it hard to befriend Dutch people as well. The Dutch culture resembles that of Scandinavian countries in certain respects.