Yes, you read the title correct. Dutch people like to not work. In fact, they like to not-work so much that they have actually become experts at it and are now the best in the European Union at doing so (not-working that is).
It was announced this week that the Dutch work the fewest hours of any other nation in the European Union (which pretty much means in the world since we all know the EU is a pretty cushy place) ;). And here you thought the French were the ones lazily spending their days sipping coffee, shopping for baguettes and playing boule. Well, guess again – the Dutch are pretty darn good at enjoying the good life.
On average people in the EU work only 37.5 hours a week, but here in the lowlands, Dutch people clock in an average of just 30.6 hours per week! That’s almost one whole day less a week then all their other EU neighbours.
Let’s not even get started on the drastic differences of our friends across the pond! The average North American works somewhere between 44-52 hours per week (depending on the research). A study released last week showed that the average American teacher works average 53hrs/week! The difference is truly shocking – compare 30.6 hours to the low end of an American 44 work week and that’s a difference of 697 hours per year (or 87 less working days)!!
How, you ask, are the Dutch spending all this free time (or the additional 697 hours to be exact)? Well, my friends, they are certainly enjoying themselves. I’ve seen ‘em. They’re riding their bikes, they’re sitting at cafes discussing the weather, they’re leisurely shopping for hagelslag and drop, they’re enjoying mama/papa-dags, they’re eating herring, they’re taking their 25 days/year of vacation, they’re frolicking in their tulip fields. Jokes aside, the Dutch do somehow manage to top the list of productivity in the EU, so something seems to be working and let me tell you, they’re having a hell of a good time at it!
The women, however, appear to be having the best time of all –many working part-time and being ranked as the “Happiest Women in the World“. It appears they’ve figured out what we all inherently know as true: working less is simply better.
Perhaps that’s why Dutch people are so attached to their agendas! They need those little books, and iphone calendars to help them schedule all their bloody free time! :) It’s a good life in the lowlands, I ain’t complaining ;)