Deadliest week in the Netherlands since WWII

Deadliest week in the Netherlands since WWII

According to figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS), week nine, the last week of February 2018 and the start of March, has been the deadliest since the end of the Second World War, with 3887 people passing away.

Freezing cold temperatures and flu in the Netherlands

The freezing cold temperatures in the Netherlands and the long-running flu epidemic in the country are to blame for the increase in the number of deaths. Of the 3887 people who passed away, over half were more than 80 years old.

Even when the North Sea Flood hit the Netherlands in 1953, fewer casualties were recorded than in week nine, February 26 to March 4, this year. The North Sea Flood of 1953 took the lives of 3.200 people. 

The last time that the number of deaths in one week was so high was in January 1945, during the Dutch famine, when around 4.500 people died per week. Figures of the deceased for the weeks in January 1945 are not exact, as back then, the number of deaths was recorded monthly instead of weekly.

Last year, on average, 2.800 people died per week. In week nine of that year, the number of deaths rose by more than 1.000.

Breaking death records

Life expectancy has increased in the past years. For a newborn baby boy, the average life expectancy is more than 80 years old and for a newborn baby girl, this is 85 years old. But with age, the body becomes more vulnerable.

Head demographer from CBS, Jan Latten, believes that the death record may be broken more than once in the coming years, as the Netherlands is home to many more elderly people than it was 70 years ago.

CBS estimates that in 2050, there will be around two million elderly people over the age of 80 living in the Netherlands. Should such a winter as the one we've just experienced occur, the number of deaths in a week is also likely to be higher than usual.

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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Leave a comment 13:43 | 20 March 2018

Sorry to hear that. But I am not surprised after I saw that doctors in Netherlands think they can cure everything with paracetamol.

Poepke van der Kok 23:55 | 22 March 2018

So true!

Tom de Bruin 14:13 | 20 March 2018

At the time of WW II, 1n 1945, 9.2 million people lived in the Netherlands, nowerdays about 17.2 million. Keep this in mind before you post an article like this.

Kylian 20:45 | 20 March 2018

Hey, Tom. It is not about the amount of people who lived in the Netherlands. It is about the amount of people who died in one week.

Ruud Welten 04:37 | 21 March 2018

Yes it is. The total number of deaths per week says nothing if not corrected for the total population. I haven't looked it up, but I'd say even more people died in Germany that week. Does that mean it was a deadlier week in Germany? No. That does not mean this isn't a somewhat interesting fact but the article should have at least addressed the total population. About 0.023% died that specific week, while about 0.031% died in the week of the flood in 1953. Big difference I'd say.

Kylian 20:48 | 20 March 2018


Poepke van der Kok 00:00 | 23 March 2018

Bhahaha! Nevermind, Kylian. It's useless in case of dutch aborigines.