A decade in figures: the Netherlands in the 2010s

A decade in figures: the Netherlands in the 2010s

That’s right, a new decennium has begun, but how did the Netherlands fare in the last one? Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has taken a look at the Netherlands in the 2010s. Here are some of the highlights.

Economy and work in the Netherlands

The global economic crisis, which occurred previous to the 2010s, had a great impact on the first half of the decade, with the economy struggling for a while. Luckily, in the second half of the 2010s, it grew profusely, causing the economy to be more prosperous than it was at the start of the decennium. In the period 2010 – 2018, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by eight percent per head.

When looking at the figures regarding those working in the Netherlands, we see a huge increase. In 2018, around 9,4 million people were in employment, almost 600.000 more than in 2010. The number of people in self-employment rose the most in this period, to 1.537.000. That's an 11 percent increase compared to 2010.

Population figures increase

It’s not only the economy or the number of people with jobs in the Netherlands that grew this last decade; the population did too, and not just by a little. In the 2010s, the population in the Netherlands went from 16,6 million to 17,3 million. The number of residents thus increased by four percent, while the number of households went up by seven percent.

The increase in population of more than 700.000 people is largely due to immigration, which accounted for more than 423.000. Natural growth (births minus deaths) equated to almost another 276.000 extra residents. The population is ageing too, with 19 percent aged 65 or over in 2019, compared to just 15 percent in 2010.

More houses and cars

The number of homes in the Netherlands increased by 4,9 percent between 2012 and 2018, meaning 366.000 homes were added to the housing stock. In total, there were 7.814.912 homes in 2018. Roads have also gotten busier, with an average of 2.261 vehicles on national roads per hour in 2017; an increase of eight percent compared to six years earlier. Whilst there are more cars, many of these run on electric, with the number of electric cars increasing from around 4.600 in 2014 to 44.700 in 2019.

Life without the internet is unimaginable

The internet has become essential to daily life, with 97 percent of residents in the Netherlands now having access to it. The majority (92 percent) is also in possession of a smartphone or mobile, and 79 percent shop online. In particular, compared to 2012, the number of people with a smartphone and using social media has risen.

Crime and religion

Fewer and fewer people are going to church in the Netherlands. More than half of the population (53 percent) is not affiliated with a religion – this is eight percent more than in 2010.

When it comes to crime figures, there is good news; fewer people were victims of a crime at the end of the decennium than at the start. In 2017, 15 percent of the population fell victim to one or more violent crimes or crimes against property or vandalism. In 2010, this figure was 21 percent.

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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