More and more people moving to the major Dutch cities
New predictions for Dutch population levels have just been released by the Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS).
They estimate that the total population of the Netherlands will grow by 650 thousand in the next 12 years, reaching 17,4 million by 2025.
Almost three quarters of this growth will be accounted for by Dutch cities. Together, the Netherlands' four major cities (Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Amsterdam) will account for a third of the total growth.
Amsterdam in particular is set to reach dizzying new levels of population density. In 2013, the Dutch "cultural capital" saw its population rise to 800 thousand. Forecasters now expect this to increase to 875 thousand by 2025.
In terms of its number of inhabitants, Amsterdam will be closely followed by Rotterdam, The Hague, then Utrecht.
City growth can be explained by two major factors: immigration and youth appeal. Upon arriving in the Netherlands, almost 60 per cent of newcomers end up settling in cities of more than 100.000 people.
Students and young people also tend to be attracted to cities, and large-scale housing opportunities often mean they end up staying and starting their own families there.
Almere is another district set for a massive population increase (195 to 235 thousand), as more people are attracted to its family-friendly housing projects.
An ageing country(side)
By 2025, 22 per cent of the Dutch population will be aged 65 or older (compared to 16 per cent now). Accordingly, this will lead to a rise in mortality rates.
Furthermore, most of the older population of the Netherlands lives in rural areas - meaning that the Dutch countryside and its villages will actually see a decline in population levels in the coming decades.
For instance the rural areas surrounding Groningen, Drenthe and Limburg will see their populations decrease by up to 8 per cent.
The ageing population also accounts for an important discrepancy: despite the Netherlands' massive population boost, there will only be a marginal increase in its potential workforce (i.e. those aged between 20 and pension-age).
To combat this, the Dutch government will gradually increase the qualifying age for AOW (Old Age Pension), meaning the ageing population will keep on working for longer. Nonetheless, the potential Dutch labour force is still only expected to increase by a measly 5 per cent.