Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. It weighs equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The methodology is exactly the same for each country. The research combines 1,000 different data points to arrive at the conclusions.
Similar to other countries near the North Sea
Four of the top five countries most similar to the Netherlands border the North Sea. Many Western European countries are relatively similar to the Netherlands. These countries are have a high level of development and their democratic governments also have relatively liberal policies.
In contrast three of the five least similar countries border the Red Sea. These countries all have large populations of Muslims. In addition, their hot desert climates and sparsely populated, barren landscapes are massively different from the Netherlands. Furthermore, the standard of living in all these countries is quite low.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to the Netherlands
- Belgium was once part of the Netherlands before it became completely independent in 1839. One reason it succeeded from the union is that it is mostly Catholic, unlike the Netherlands, however nowadays neither country is very religious. Approximately half of Belgiums speak Dutch, while the other half speak French.
- Germany and Netherlands were both originally part of the Holy Roman Empire. They have a mix of Catholics and Protestants but also have a high number of atheists and a minority population of Muslims. One difference is that Germany no longer has a monarch as head of state.
- Denmark is another Germanic country that is extremely flat and has all of its land relatively close to the sea. Although both countries are part of the European Union, Denmark has not adopted the Euro as currency. Another difference is that Denmark is less densely populated and has about twice as much farmland as a percentage of its land.
- Luxembourg‘s head of state was the king of the Netherlands until 1890. It is one of the richest countries in the world and has a high level of development. Luxembourgish is a Germanic language that is similar to Dutch. One big difference is that Luxembourg is landlocked.
- United Kingdom is just across the North Sea from the Netherlands. Both countries had considerable seafaring ability with their merchants establishing trading posts in distant locations. Over 90% of Dutch can speak English. Both countries are not very mountainous and are densely populated. However, there are some small technological differences, since Britain drives on the left and uses different electrical outlets.
- France, 7. Austria, 8. Ireland, 9. Sweden, 10. Switzerland
Top 10 Places Least Similar to the Netherlands
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert. It is predominately Muslim country and most of its people speak Arabic natively. Its infrastructure and standard of living have suffered due to recent civil war. It recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan.
- Eritrea borders Sudan. It is another country located on the Red Sea. It is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population, but its people are part of the unique Oriental Orthodox denomination and more religious than the Dutch. Its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years.
- Yemen is across the Red Sea from Eritrea. Unlike other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, it is poorly developed due to civil war. While the Dutch are on average some of the tallest people in the world, Yemen is one of the shortest. The country is also more mountainous than the Netherlands.
- Somalia is located in Africa across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen. It is another anarchic, Muslim country with poorly developed infrastructure. It is very conservative, in contrast to more liberal Netherlands. However, despite the fact that Somali is completely unrelated to Dutch, both languages use the Latin alphabet.
- Chad is a landlocked country in the Sahara Desert that has little development of its infrastructure. The country’s two official languages are French and Arabic. Like Eritrea, it also has a mix of Christians and Muslims. While the Netherlands has a dense railroad network, Chad does not even have a railroad in the entire country.
- Niger, 7. Papua New Guinea, 8. South Sudan, 9. Laos, 10. Mauritania
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to the Netherlands
Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.