“Wealth” in Different Lands

Former American Ambassador to the Netherlands Howard Wilkins and his wife Rhonda celebrate “America’s longest uninterrupted ally” at the 13th Annual Netherland- America Foundation Awards Dinner by wearing the Dutch national colors. (Photo by Kyle Samperton for The NAF)

Former American Ambassador to the Netherlands and his wife Rhonda celebrate “America’s longest uninterrupted ally” at the 13th Annual Netherland- America Foundation Awards Dinner by wearing the Dutch national colors. (Photo by for The NAF)

Definitions of affluence differ; but red, white, and blue is a charmer.

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Gross national product, per capita income, oil reserves, and adequate water and food divide the world into “wealthy” and “poor.” Yes, America still has the most billionaires, but to many people, especially those outside the U.S., personal wealth – meaning currency and property – isn’t the only way to measure “wealth.” Some would rather have a royal title and less money. Others cherish their quality of life – in that category, Irish, Swiss, and Norwegians rank highest, but the U.S. is only 13th, just above Canada. Andorra, a tiny country in the Pyrenees, has the longest life expectancy at 83.5 years, with Japan, Macau, San Marino and Singapore close behind.

The Dutch have the shortest work week, and Singapore boasts of its “human” capital. Amsterdam’s the number one Internet hub, but Switzerland has the most computers per person. Do cell-phones make you feel rich and well-connected? The combined 27 nations of the European Union boast 466,000,000 cell phones but China is only five million behind at 461,100,000. The number one environmentally friendly nation is Finland followed by Norway, Uruguay, Sweden, Iceland, Canada and Switzerland. Iceland and Norway take turns being ranked the most peaceful nation. Canada has 40 percent of the world’s water and Uganda has the highest air quality. Australia is the sunniest country in the world but Ethiopia boasts “Thirteen months of sunshine!” – theirs is a 13-month calendar.

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