Number of one-person companies booming in the Netherlands

The number of registered companies in the Netherlands has reached a record 1,5 million according to researchers at the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), but more than two thirds have a workforce of one person.

Self-employed account for increase in companies

The number of medium and large companies in the Netherlands has actually declined in the past five years by around five per cent.

Meanwhile, the country saw distinct growth in the number of small companies (those which employ fewer than 50 workers) between 2010 and 2015.

Within this category, the number of companies employing between two and 10 workers stayed relatively constant, while the proportion of those with 10 to 50 employees decreased slightly.

The number of one-person companies, however, grew by a whopping 30 per cent over the five years studied. Eenmanszaken now account for an overwhelming 1,1 million companies in the Netherlands.

Change more noticeable in some sectors

The majority of those registered as self-employed work within the category of "business services", frequently as freelance consultants. Whereas there were 40.000 such companies in 2010, there are now 55.000. 

Large increases were also seen in the numbers of self-employed nurses and home health care workers, as well as tutors and coaches.

In particular, home care companies consisting of one person have more than doubled since 2010.

Also notably, the number of webshops in the Netherlands increased by 5.000 in 2014, to reach 30.000. However, the CBS notes that most webshops become inactive after two years, due in part to high competition.


Emily McCallum


Emily McCallum

Emily grew up in a small coastal town in western Canada and moved to Utrecht in 2014, after completing her studies in Vancouver and Germany. So far, she has been...

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