The Netherlands in top 5 for lifelong learning

The Netherlands in top 5 for lifelong learning

The Netherlands has the fifth highest participation rate when it comes to lifelong learning for people aged 25 to 64, according to recent figures published by the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS).

Those who indicate having received training and education for work or leisure are predominantly the highly educated, people in their late twenties and those working in financial services, healthcare and education.

The Netherlands ranks fifth in the EU

Among Dutch survey respondents, nearly 18 percent (an equivalent of 1,6 million people) stated that they received education or training for either work or personal reasons in 2014.

This includes workshops, language courses or even classes in art history, but it can also be a complete course in higher education.

The 18 percent share puts the Netherlands in fifth place of EU countries with the highest participation rates. Denmark, Sweden, Finland and France round out the top 4.

EU goals not reached

Within the European Union, 11 percent of people aged 25 to 64 received education or training in 2014.

The target of 12,5 percent set by the European Commission for the year 2010 was therefore not met, also not by 2014.

The Netherlands has set its own target of 20 percent by the year 2020.

Highly educated Dutch take more advantage

In 2014, the Netherlands had a larger share of highly educated persons seeking additional training or education than less educated people.

This is partially due to the nature of their professions. The highest portion of extra training is received by people working in financial services.

Medical specialists, lawyers and teachers, for example, often face ongoing developments in their work which make extra training necessary or even compulsory. 

Participation in lifelong learning in the EU (25 to 64-year-olds), 2014. Source: CBS / Eurostat The Netherlands in top 5 for lifelong learning

Young Dutch people want to improve skills

People in their late twenties and thirties participate more often in education or training than the older demographic. Among this younger group, some have been enrolled in long study programmes that still have to be completed.

Young people are also more likely to require training at their new or even first job, for specific company- or job-related knowledge and skills.

Working people mainly learn to improve work performance

More employed than unemployed people indicate that they are enrolled in education or training. Their main reasons for doing so are to upgrade their professional skills and enhance their career prospects. 

People who have taken long-term work-related training tend to be more successful in receiving promotions or higher salaries compared to those taking short-term training.

Thomas Lundberg


Thomas Lundberg

Born as a Swede in the Netherlands, this life-long expat has spent his time in Belgium, the United States and Amsterdam. He began his professional career as a regional news...

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