The Netherlands’ population could reach 23 million by 2050

The Netherlands’ population could reach 23 million by 2050

The population of the Netherlands could reach 23 million by the year 2050, according to a warning that the country’s national committee on demographic growth issued to the Dutch parliament in January 2024. The committee warned that the figure is unsustainable, and added that there “are measures that need to be taken”. 

Immigration and population growth remain a sensitive issue in the Netherlands

Many politicians on the right of the political spectrum frequently discuss immigration and the prospect of population growth caused by immigration and the issue is a divisive one in the Netherlands. As the Netherlands struggles to conclude coalition agreements to eventually form a government, the population data brings the issue of immigration to the forefront of political affairs once again. 

The report published by the National Committee on Demographic Growth takes the view that while not all predictions about future population growth are likely to come true, the issue remains that the Netherlands is not equipped for large-scale population growth in the years ahead. Richard van Zwol, who headed the national demographic growth commission, said that if the Dutch population continues to grow at the rate currently seen, the country’s standard of living will not be retained, especially concerning finding adequate housing, as well as the provision of high-quality healthcare and education, among other issues.

New laws urgently needed to address national worker shortage

Despite the bad news, Van Zwol also offers several solutions to the incoming problems. Firstly, the government will need to intervene to raise taxes to maintain the country’s current standard of living. The report also argues that there should be a crackdown on agencies that take advantage of migrant workers in the Netherlands, to deter exploitation of foreign workers. 

Housing is also a key issue addressed in the report. Already in many Dutch cities it can be difficult to find a rental property, let alone buy your own house, therefore the report advocates new laws aimed at encouraging developers to build more new homes, and that the healthcare sector needs an overhaul to address the industry’s worker shortage. Only then could adequate access to healthcare be made possible. 

Even with all of these reforms, Van Zwol believes that the Netherlands will only be able to support a population increase of up to 19 to 20 million. The Dutch population currently stands at 17,5 million people.

Thumb image credit: jan kranendonk /

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

Read more



Leave a comment