Symptom-googling in the EU most prevalent in the Netherlands

Symptom-googling in the EU most prevalent in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, those aged 16 to 74 google their symptoms, health and lifestyle more than any other country in the EU, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

The Netherlands asks Dr. Google

Last year, 72 percent of people aged 16 to 74 consulted Dr. Google regarding their health. This percentage is higher than any of the 27 other countries in the European Union and much higher than the EU average of 52 percent. The majority of searches were for answers to health-related questions. Such questions were not only about illnesses but also about how one can live a more healthy life by changing one’s diet or lifestyle.

In the Netherlands, the group with the highest percentage of people turning to Google for information about health were the 25 to 45 year olds, with 80 percent of them inputting their queries online.

When looking at ages 12 and above, 67 percent of people in the Netherlands looked to Google for the answers to health-related questions. We also see that a higher percentage of women than men sought the Internet’s advice when it came to this information, 71 vs. 63 percent.

The countries coming in after the Netherlands, in terms of health-question-googling amongst 16 to 74 year olds, to make up the top five are: Finland (69 percent), Denmark (66 percent), Germany (64 percent) and Sweden (62 percent). The standing of the other EU countries can be seen in this graph.

Online appointments and buying medicine

When it comes to making appointments online to see the doctor, the Netherlands doesn’t take first place, however, it is not far off at number four in the EU. In 2018, 27 percent of people over 12 years old in the Netherlands booked an appointment online with, for example, a specialist or health centre. The EU average for this is 17 percent and the country with the highest percentage of residents making online appointments was Finland, with 44 percent.

Looking up ailments online is not the only percentage which has increased over the years in the Netherlands, buying medicine online has too. Back in 2012, only three percent of people bought medicine online. In 2018, this figure had increased to 10 percent, just above the EU average of 9 percent.

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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