Cycling makes Dutch happy – or is it money?

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Today’s AD newspaper reports that it’s not for nothing that the Dutch are the “happiest people in the world”, scoring consistently high in international feel-good surveys. Their secret apparently lies in their ubiquitous use of bikes.

According to research, cycling makes you feel independent and free, and it’s also nice and cheap. Cyclists experience less stress than, for example, motorists or people using public transport. The paper doesn’t even bother to mention the other health gains made by using the bike.

The information the paper quotes comes from an LRKC bureau survey which says the Dutch travel nearly 200 billion kilometres a year. While cycling was said to be less stressful than other modes of transport, 80 percent of those questioned still chose to travel by car because of speed and convenience. Despite being able to ‘multitask’ during train journeys, rail travel came out of the survey as the most stressful mode of transport.

Higher income
Dutch daily may, however, have the true key to Dutch happiness. People in the Netherlands, it tells us, are on average among the richest people in the European Union. The average Dutch income is 20 to 30 percent higher than that of the average European.

A Eurostat statistics service report indicates only Luxembourg residents enjoy a higher average income. However, says the paper, with its large financial sector and a population of just half a million, Luxembourg is not a suitable comparison.