Just 5.4% of the Dutch use marijuana or cannabis at least once a year, compared with 7% of Europeans as a whole, according to new EU research.
Italians are the biggest users of marijuana - 14.6% of Italians aged 15 to 64 took the drug in the year before the survey was carried out, the report by the EU's drug monitoring agency showed.
The Netherlands also has one of the lowest drug-related death rates in the EU - just eight per million, compared with almost 50 per million in the UK, the survey showed.
A spokesman for the drug addiction institute Trimbos told the Volkskrant the results of the survey show the Dutch policy of turning a blind eye to small scale soft drug usage had paid off.
Cocaine is the second most popular drug in Europe, apart from in the Netherlands where ecstasy is in second place.
However, the agency says the Netherlands is still one of the biggest producers of both ecstasy and amphetamines in Europe.
November 5, 2009
Dutch cannabis usage below EU average