Go Solo: Freelancing in the Netherlands on the rise
Over the past 10 years, the number of self-employed people working in the Netherlands has grown by 200 thousand people. This growth is due entirely to freelancers (ZZP) (i.e. self-employed people without staff, or "zelfstandigen zonder personeel" in Dutch), which now number at 728 thousand; the number of self-employed people with staff has remained stable at 350 thousand.
The total number of self-employed people up to 65 years of age increased from 867 thousand in 2002 to almost 1,1 million in 2011. Among non-retired people over the age of 65, this number has also increased, from 28 thousand in 2002 to 47 thousand in 2011.
This increase in the number of freelancers is most pronounced among people working in the commercial services sector, in particular business services, whose numbers increased from 214 thousand in 2002 to 302 thousand in 2010.
Within industry, the number of freelancers increased, from 84 thousand in 2002 to 124 thousand in 2010, while the number of employees decreased, from around 1,4 million in 2002 to 1,2 million in 2010. Decreases in the number of self-employed were only observed within the agriculture, forestry, and fishery industries.
The increase in the number of freelancers occurred primarily among older age groups and among the more highly educated. Among highly educated freelancers, the number grew from 163 thousand in 2002 to 293 in 2011, accounting for almost two thirds of the entire increase in freelancers.
Source: Statistics Netherlands