44 Overall Score


  • 19.2 Public Health
  • 22.4 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 19.2 Public Health
  • 22.4 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based

The Netherlands’ overall policy response falls just above the median, with its reliance on facts and science on COVID-19 helping it overcome its small stimulus, minimal debt support, and limited testing.

Pre-COVID Conditions

The Netherlands scored extremely well on most categories, except for hospital beds.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 52.4%
  • GDP/capita $60,299
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) 28.5
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 3
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 89.5
  • Hospital beds/1,000 People 33.6

Government Response

Select a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Aug 1.)

Public Health Directives

The Netherlands’ poor public health policy score was greatly impacted by the country’s limited stay-at-home policy, minimal testing, and few emergency healthcare funds.

  • Stay at home order 3
  • Public gathering restrictions 2
  • School closings 1
  • Public event cancellations 0
  • Testing policy 2
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $1.52
  • Travel restrictions 3
  • Tests/1,000 people 0.9
  • Contact tracing 1

Financial Response

Despite generous income support, the Netherlands has a relatively weak financial score, driven by a small stimulus package and very weak debt forbearance.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 12.8%
  • Income support 2
  • Debt forebearance 1

Fact-Based Communication

The Netherlands’ government is strong in this category, as it has not limited press freedom in response to COVID-19, although it has taken argued that there is no evidence for facemask effectiveness.

  • Reliance on science/fact based information 0
  • Press freedom 0

COVID-19 Status as of Aug 1

Despite the lack of a strict lockdown, the Netherlands’ rate of cases has remained comparatively low, likely impacted by its testing a wide range of the population and strong pre-pandemic capabilities, resulting in a relatively high score, although the higher death rate is notable.

  • Total deaths 6,140
  • Death rate per 100K 358.3
  • Total cases 54,301
  • Cases per 100K 3,169
  • Percent of positive tests 1.4
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown Level 2 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 May 11 Childcare, primary schools, and some businesses are allowed to open 17.14
2 Jun 01 More businesses (including restaurants, cafes, and cultural institutions) reopen 10.06
3 Jul 01 More than 100 people are allowed in closed spaces; numbers at cinemas are not limited; and the travel ban from 14 EU countries is lifted 4.59

Differentiating Factors

  • High public trust saw success despite few restrictions: The Dutch government did not impose a strict lockdown, keeping shops and the country's borders open. Instead, the authorities have relied on self-regulation, which appears to have worked. One survey found that 93 percent of respondents were choosing to stay home as much as possible and practicing social distancing. Read More
  • Income support contingent on staff retention: In early July, the government launched a second round of business support, reimbursing up to 90 percent of salary costs on the condition that businesses fire no more than 20 people and provide training and re-training opportunities to employees where possible. Read More
  • Human-to-animal transmission causes concerns: At least 20 mink farms have been the sites of COVID outbreaks. The minks caught COVID from human workers, and at least two farm workers have now contracted the virus from the minks, raising public health concerns. Mink farming will be banned in the Netherlands from 2024, but the outbreaks may lead many mink farmers to close permanently ahead of the deadline. Read More
Compared with Neighboring/Nearest Countries
  • 47.4
    Belgium 70,281
    Per 1M

    While Belgium has not imposed strict lockdown orders, it has implemented strong testing and contract tracing and generous fiscal supports. Still, its case and death rates are high, with the largest shares of deaths concentrated in elderly care facilities, bringing its score down to around the median. It should be noted that Belgium counts suspected, not just confirmed, COVID-19 cases and deaths, whereas other countries tend to only include confirmed.

  • 67.2
    Germany 209,653
    Per 1M

    Germany’s pandemic response has been praised around the world for its rapidly implemented contact tracing strategy and science-based leadership, which contribute to its relatively strong performance in the Index.

Further Reading From Foreign Policy

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New Zealand

Statistics and government response factors available on each country profile include:

Pre-COVID Conditions:

  • Debt to GDP ratio
  • Infant mortality rates
  • Hospital beds per 1,000 people
  • Gini coefficients measuring inequality
  • Health access and quality

COVID-19 Public Health Directives:

  • Stay-at home orders
  • School-closing policy
  • Public-gathering restrictions
  • Cancellation of public events
  • Testing policy and rates per 1,000 people
  • Emergency healthcare spending per capita
  • Travel restrictions
  • Contact tracing

COVID-19 Financial Response:

  • Stimulus package as a share of GDP
  • Income support
  • Debt-forbearance

Public Communications:

  • Instances of misinformation by leadership
  • Limitations on press freedom, censorship

Current/Historic In-Country COVID-19 Status:

  • Death rates per 1 million
  • Case rates per 1 million