Number of Dutch freelancers rose by 85 percent in a decade

Number of Dutch freelancers rose by 85 percent in a decade

The number of freelancers working in the Netherlands has increased by 85 percent since 2014, according to data from the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK). While there were around 875.000 self-employed people in the Netherlands in 2014, there are now approximately 1,6 million in 2024.

The youngest and eldest members of the workforce are keen to freelance

The data shows that the strongest increase was seen in the 0 - 24 age category for younger freelancers, as well as in the eldest members of the workforce - the over 65s and over 70s. Most freelancers work in the business services sector (440.000), followed by construction workers (218.000) and in the Dutch healthcare sector (203.000).

The number of female freelancers grew the strongest in the healthcare sector, followed by the business services industry. “We often think that female self-employed people only work in personal services and the healthcare and welfare sectors, but most still work in business services. For example, as an independent lawyer or communications advisor,” entrepreneur and professor by special appointment at Tilburg University Josette Dijkhuizen told ANP.

Young people often have skills that lean towards freelance jobs

According to the KvK, one of the reasons that young people are more often employed in freelance work is because they have strong digital skills, and that there are low barriers to entry in the digital industry. The organisation also believes that education has a role, and that more young people are aware of the possibilities for freelancers and ZZP'ers.

Many young freelancers therefore work in sectors in need of digital knowledge and digitisation, namely retail, catering, and, to a lesser extent, logistics. By contrast, many older workers want to work for themselves for flexibility as they age so turn to freelancing as an opportunity to build on top of their pension, or continue working on a flexible, part-time basis if they cannot afford to retire completely, according to the KvK. 

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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