Fewer young couples in the Netherlands getting married

Fewer young couples in the Netherlands getting married

According to figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS), registered partnership is becoming more popular and fewer couples in their 20s and 30s are choosing to get married.

Marriage figures in the Netherlands

In 2017, 64.400 couples entered holy matrimony. Despite how large this number may seem, 20 years ago around 85.000 couples tied the knot, so the decline is substantial.

Registered partnership is becoming more popular amongst 20 and 30 year olds. Last year, 17.900 signed on the dotted line, an increase of 2.000 compared to 2016 and 11.000 if you look at figures from 10 years ago.

On a nationwide scale, registered partnerships account for 18 percent of all unions. However, in certain parts of the country, registered partnerships are more popular than others. In the municipality of Olst-Wijhe and Ferwerderadiel, more than 40 percent of unions are registered partnerships. In the more religious municipalities of Urk, Elburg and Vlieland, more than 92 percent of couples get married.

CBS figures show an increase in the average age of people getting married for the first time in the period between 1997 and 2017. This rose from 30 to 34 by men and from 28 to 31,5 for women.

Financial insecurity

CBS feels that one of the reasons for the decrease in marriages may be financial insecurity, due to flex-work and shorter job contracts, for example. Couples may also wish to save up, as buying a house requires more of your own money nowadays.

Today, it has also become commonplace for couples to live to together and either get married later along the line or not at all. In 1997, 12,8 percent of 35-year-old men lived together unmarried with their partner, as opposed to 27,9 percent in 2017. These percentages increase from 10,3 to 26,0 for 35-year-old women.

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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