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Netherlands in leading position for digital literacy in Europe

Netherlands in leading position for digital literacy in Europe

Netherlands in leading position for digital literacy in Europe

According to research from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and other EU Member States, the Netherlands belongs to the leading group of countries when it comes to digital literacy, having the highest proportion of residents skilled in using the internet, computers and software. Half of 16 to 75-year-olds in the country had more than just basic digital skills in 2019. The EU average was just 33 percent.

More than just basic skills

The Netherlands, Finland, Denmark and the United Kingdom are the leading countries when it comes to digital literacy, as they have the biggest share of residents with more than just basic skills. In the Netherlands, this share amounts to 50 percent, the same as in Finland. In Denmark and the UK, this proportion is 49 percent.

The average share of residents with more than just basic skills for the EU-28 is 33 percent. Whilst the Netherlands and Finland are at the top end of the spectrum, Romania and Bulgaria are at the other end, with only 10 and 11 percent of residents respectively having more than just basic skills. Countries like Greece and Hungary also score lower than the EU average, with just 23 and 25 percent respectively.

It’s nothing new that digital literacy in the Netherlands is higher than the EU average; it’s always been this way. What’s interesting, though, is the fact that digital literacy is increasing. Back in 2015, only 43 percent of people aged between 16 and 75 had better than basic digital skills.

Four areas of digital literacy

There are four areas which determine digital literacy. These are information, communication, computers / online services and software. In 2019, the Netherlands performed best in the area information, which encompasses things like looking up information online, moving files around and saving photos in the Cloud. The share of residents in the Netherlands with more than basic skills for this area was 89 percent, whilst the EU average is 71 percent.

The area in which the Netherlands performed the worst was software. The EU average for this area was also much lower than for the others, at just 41 percent. In this area 55 percent of residents in the Netherlands had better than basic skills. The area software refers to the use of, amongst other things, office software for word processing and spreadsheets. This area also includes writing computer programmes in coding language.

Youngsters are skilled

If we take a closer look into which groups have better than basic skills the differences are dramatic. Of the youngsters aged between 16 and 25, 78 percent had better than basic digital skills – that’s more than four times as much as those aged between 65 and 75. In the latter group, only 18 percent had better than basic digital literacy.

There are also big differences in digital literacy when it comes to one’s educational level. Of those belonging to the group “highly educated”, 68 percent had better than basic digital skills – more than twice the percentage of those with a lower level of education (30 percent).  

Mina Solanki

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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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