The Frisian paradox
Frisians are the happiest inhabitants of the Netherlands! That’s not because they earn so much or experience so many exciting things, because that isn’t the case at all! So, what is the reason? Equality and social cohesion, think scientists, who call it the Frisian paradox. The percentages of people who say they are happy and content are 92 and 89 percent respectively, which is unequalled elsewhere. “Spatial and social factors more than compensate the less rosy economic aspects.” The explanation for the great happiness of the Frisians can be found in the little things. Firstly, social inequality is less acute, as incomes vary less in Friesland than in the rest of the Netherlands. Secondly, there’s considerable social capital. Frisians praise the social cohesion. More voluntary work is done in this region than in any other area, and residents have plenty of trust in each other. “People don’t need much here, they’re satisfied with what they have. Frisians know: we need each other.” So, only logical that a stanza of the Frisian national anthem reads: The best country on earth! This is sung loudly from the heart on many occasions.