Edition 2020

Photo description: Aerial image of a car on a road between fields near Den Bosch.

How do we use our land?

The total surface area of the Netherlands is 4.2 million hectares, including both inland and open water. In 2015, about half of this surface area was used for agriculture, and about a third was nature, water or used for recreation. A relatively small part of our territory is earmarked for buildings and roads.

How do we use our land?Bebouwd terreinBuilt-up area 361,526 haForest and natural areas 498,956 haFarmland 2,236,317hectaresOpen water 254,947 haInland water 371,941 haRecreational areaSemi-covered area Road surface105,418 ha115,563 ha 49,318 ha

Of the total surface area of the Netherlands, 54 percent (2.2 million hectares) is used as farmland, and 13 percent (0.5 million hectares) is built-up areanoot1 and road surface. The built-up area consists mainly of living space and business parks. In addition, 34 percent is made up of nature and inland and open waternoot2, which includes 0.5 million hectares of forest and other types of natural land, such as heathland, beaches and dunes (12 percent of the country’s total surface area). Together with the Veluwe and the Biesbosch, Gelderland and Noord-Brabant have a relatively large area of natural land. The country’s various inland waters, such as the IJsselmeer and the rivers, account for 9 percent of its total surface area. The open waters, including the Wadden Sea, the coastal zone of the North Sea, the Western Scheldt and Eastern Scheldt, account for 10 percent of land use.

Flevoland and Fryslân have the largest share of natural areas

About half of the surface area of both Flevoland and Fryslân consists of nature, water and recreational areas. Overijssel has the smallest share of natural areas and water (19 percent), followed by Drenthe (21 percent). These two provinces have the largest proportion of farmland, at 70 percent. The share of farmland is lowest in North Holland and Flevoland, at around 40 percent. The share of built-up areas, semi-covered areas and road surface is highest in Zuid-Holland, Utrecht and Limburg, and lowest in Fryslân and Flevoland.

Land use per province, 2015 (%)
Category Natural, water and recreational area Built-up area and road surface Farmland
Flevoland 53 6.1 40.8
Fryslân 50.1 5.1 44.8
Noord-Holland 46.2 15.5 38.4
Zeeland 45.8 7.8 46.5
Netherlands 33.5 12.7 53.8
Zuid-Holland 29.6 22.7 47.6
Gelderland 28.5 13.4 58.1
Groningen 27.9 8.9 63.2
Utrecht 23.3 21.1 55.6
Noord-Brabant 23.1 17 59.9
Limburg 22.4 19 58.5
Drenthe 21.4 9.1 69.5
Overijssel 18.7 11.7 69.5

On average 500 metres to public green spaces

In 2015, most Dutch people did not have to travel far to public green spaces such as forests, parks and public gardens, and areas for day recreation such as zoos, amusement parks and playgrounds. The average distancenoot3 to public green was 0.5 kilometres. For residents of Vlieland this distance was the smallest at 0.1 kilometres, while in Littenseradiel it was the largest at 3.5 kilometres.

Distance by road to public green spaces, 2015
Municipality Distance to public green spaces
Vlieland 0.1
Muiden 0.2
Rozendaal 0.2
Alblasserdam 0.3
Albrandswaard 0.3
Almere 0.3
Arnhem 0.3
Baarn 0.3
Bergen (NH.) 0.3
Blaricum 0.3
Castricum 0.3
Culemborg 0.3
Diemen 0.3
Doesburg 0.3
Edam-Volendam 0.3
Enkhuizen 0.3
Groningen 0.3
Harderwijk 0.3
Heemskerk 0.3
Heerlen 0.3
Hellevoetsluis 0.3
Huizen 0.3
Kerkrade 0.3
Krimpen aan den IJssel 0.3
Landsmeer 0.3
Leiderdorp 0.3
Lelystad 0.3
Maassluis 0.3
Nieuwegein 0.3
Nissewaard 0.3
Oegstgeest 0.3
Renkum 0.3
Rijswijk (ZH.) 0.3
Schiedam 0.3
Sliedrecht 0.3
Stede Broec 0.3
Utrecht 0.3
Utrechtse Heuvelrug 0.3
Velsen 0.3
Vlaardingen 0.3
Voorschoten 0.3
Wassenaar 0.3
Westervoort 0.3
Wijk bij Duurstede 0.3
Zandvoort 0.3
Zeewolde 0.3
Zeist 0.3
Zoetermeer 0.3
Zutphen 0.3
Zwijndrecht 0.3
Alkmaar 0.4
Almelo 0.4
Amersfoort 0.4
Amstelveen 0.4
Amsterdam 0.4
Apeldoorn 0.4
Assen 0.4
Barendrecht 0.4
Bellingwedde 0.4
Bergeijk 0.4
Bergen (L.) 0.4
Bergen op Zoom 0.4
Beverwijk 0.4
De Bilt 0.4
Bloemendaal 0.4
Brielle 0.4
Brummen 0.4
Brunssum 0.4
Capelle aan den IJssel 0.4
Delfzijl 0.4
Deventer 0.4
Doetinchem 0.4
Dordrecht 0.4
Dronten 0.4
Eersel 0.4
Eindhoven 0.4
Elburg 0.4
Enschede 0.4
Ermelo 0.4
Etten-Leur 0.4
Geertruidenberg 0.4
Geldrop-Mierlo 0.4
Goirle 0.4
Gorinchem 0.4
Gouda 0.4
Grave 0.4
Haarlem 0.4
Haarlemmermeer 0.4
Haren 0.4
Hattem 0.4
Heerenveen 0.4
Heeze-Leende 0.4
Heiloo 0.4
Hellendoorn 0.4
Helmond 0.4
Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht 0.4
's-Hertogenbosch 0.4
Hoogeveen 0.4
Hoogezand-Sappemeer 0.4
Hoorn 0.4
Houten 0.4
IJsselstein 0.4
Laren (NH.) 0.4
Leiden 0.4
Leidschendam-Voorburg 0.4
Maasgouw 0.4
Maastricht 0.4
Meppel 0.4
Midden-Drenthe 0.4
Mill en Sint Hubert 0.4
Mook en Middelaar 0.4
Naarden 0.4
Nijmegen 0.4
Noordwijk 0.4
Nuenen, Gerwen en Nederwetten 0.4
Oisterwijk 0.4
Oldambt 0.4
Ommen 0.4
Oost Gelre 0.4
Oosterhout 0.4
Oud-Beijerland 0.4
Papendrecht 0.4
Purmerend 0.4
Putten 0.4
Rheden 0.4
Ridderkerk 0.4
Rijnwaarden 0.4
Rijssen-Holten 0.4
Roermond 0.4
Roosendaal 0.4
Rotterdam 0.4
Schiermonnikoog 0.4
Sint-Oedenrode 0.4
Soest 0.4
Terschelling 0.4
Tiel 0.4
Tilburg 0.4
Tynaarlo 0.4
Uden 0.4
Uitgeest 0.4
Uithoorn 0.4
Urk 0.4
Valkenburg aan de Geul 0.4
Valkenswaard 0.4
Veendam 0.4
Veenendaal 0.4
Veldhoven 0.4
Venlo 0.4
Vught 0.4
Waalre 0.4
Weert 0.4
Wijchen 0.4
Wijdemeren 0.4
Woudenberg 0.4
Zaanstad 0.4
Zwolle 0.4
Aa en Hunze 0.5
Aalten 0.5
Alphen aan den Rijn 0.5
Asten 0.5
Best 0.5
Beuningen 0.5
Bladel 0.5
Borne 0.5
Boxtel 0.5
Breda 0.5
Bussum 0.5
Coevorden 0.5
Cuijk 0.5
Delft 0.5
Dongen 0.5
Druten 0.5
Duiven 0.5
Emmen 0.5
Gilze en Rijen 0.5
s-Gravenhage 0.5
Haaksbergen 0.5
Hardinxveld-Giessendam 0.5
Harlingen 0.5
Heemstede 0.5
Heerhugowaard 0.5
Den Helder 0.5
Heumen 0.5
Heusden 0.5
Hillegom 0.5
Hilversum 0.5
Hulst 0.5
Kampen 0.5
Katwijk 0.5
Landgraaf 0.5
Lansingerland 0.5
Leeuwarderadeel 0.5
Leusden 0.5
Lingewaal 0.5
Lisse 0.5
Lochem 0.5
Loon op Zand 0.5
Meerssen 0.5
Menterwolde 0.5
Middelburg (Z.) 0.5
Midden-Delfland 0.5
Noordenveld 0.5
Noordoostpolder 0.5
Noordwijkerhout 0.5
Nunspeet 0.5
Oirschot 0.5
Oldenzaal 0.5
Ooststellingwerf 0.5
Oostzaan 0.5
Opsterland 0.5
Oss 0.5
Ouder-Amstel 0.5
Pekela 0.5
Scherpenzeel 0.5
Schijndel 0.5
Schinnen 0.5
Schouwen-Duiveland 0.5
Sittard-Geleen 0.5
Smallingerland 0.5
Son en Breugel 0.5
Steenwijkerland 0.5
Teylingen 0.5
Vaals 0.5
Veghel 0.5
Vianen 0.5
Vlissingen 0.5
Waddinxveen 0.5
Wageningen 0.5
Weesp 0.5
Weststellingwerf 0.5
Westvoorne 0.5
Winterswijk 0.5
Woensdrecht 0.5
Woerden 0.5
Wormerland 0.5
Zevenaar 0.5
Zwartewaterland 0.5
Baarle-Nassau 0.6
Barneveld 0.6
Bedum 0.6
Beesel 0.6
Berkelland 0.6
Binnenmaas 0.6
Boekel 0.6
Borger-Odoorn 0.6
Boxmeer 0.6
Bronckhorst 0.6
Cranendonck 0.6
Dantumadiel 0.6
Deurne 0.6
Dinkelland 0.6
Dongeradeel 0.6
Ede 0.6
Epe 0.6
Franekeradeel 0.6
De Friese Meren 0.6
Gemert-Bakel 0.6
Gennep 0.6
Goeree-Overflakkee 0.6
Goes 0.6
Groesbeek 0.6
Halderberge 0.6
Hardenberg 0.6
Heerde 0.6
Hengelo (O.) 0.6
Hof van Twente 0.6
Laarbeek 0.6
Leek 0.6
Leerdam 0.6
Leeuwarden 0.6
Leudal 0.6
Losser 0.6
Olst-Wijhe 0.6
Oude IJsselstreek 0.6
Pijnacker-Nootdorp 0.6
Raalte 0.6
Renswoude 0.6
Rhenen 0.6
Roerdalen 0.6
De Ronde Venen 0.6
Rucphen 0.6
Simpelveld 0.6
Slochteren 0.6
Someren 0.6
Stadskanaal 0.6
Stein (L.) 0.6
Stichtse Vecht 0.6
Terneuzen 0.6
Tytsjerksteradiel 0.6
Venray 0.6
Vlagtwedde 0.6
Voerendaal 0.6
Voorst 0.6
Werkendam 0.6
Westerveld 0.6
Woudrichem 0.6
Zeevang 0.6
Zuidplas 0.6
Ameland 0.7
Appingedam 0.7
Beek (L.) 0.7
Bunschoten 0.7
Echt-Susteren 0.7
Eemnes 0.7
Haaren 0.7
Hollands Kroon 0.7
Kapelle 0.7
Korendijk 0.7
Landerd 0.7
Langedijk 0.7
Lingewaard 0.7
Maasdriel 0.7
De Marne 0.7
Medemblik 0.7
Moerdijk 0.7
Montfoort 0.7
Neder-Betuwe 0.7
Nijkerk 0.7
Opmeer 0.7
Peel en Maas 0.7
Schagen 0.7
Sint-Michielsgestel 0.7
Sluis 0.7
Steenbergen 0.7
Tholen 0.7
Tubbergen 0.7
Veere 0.7
Waalwijk 0.7
De Wolden 0.7
Zaltbommel 0.7
Zoeterwoude 0.7
Aalsmeer 0.8
Bernheze 0.8
Borsele 0.8
Bunnik 0.8
Dalfsen 0.8
Eemsmond 0.8
Geldermalsen 0.8
Hilvarenbeek 0.8
Horst aan de Maas 0.8
Krimpenerwaard 0.8
Loppersum 0.8
Marum 0.8
Montferland 0.8
Oldebroek 0.8
Onderbanken 0.8
Oudewater 0.8
Staphorst 0.8
S�dwest-Frysl�n 0.8
Texel 0.8
Twenterand 0.8
West Maas en Waal 0.8
Westland 0.8
Bodegraven-Reeuwijk 0.9
Drimmelen 0.9
Eijsden-Margraten 0.9
Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude 0.9
Menameradiel 0.9
Neerijnen 0.9
Noord-Beveland 0.9
Nuth 0.9
Overbetuwe 0.9
Sint Anthonis 0.9
Waterland 0.9
Wierden 0.9
Zundert 0.9
Achtkarspelen 1
Alphen-Chaam 1
het Bildt 1
Buren 1
Drechterland 1
Gulpen-Wittem 1
Koggenland 1
Reusel-De Mierden 1
Strijen 1
Ten Boer 1.1
Grootegast 1.1
Kollumerland en Nieuwkruisland 1.1
Nieuwkoop 1.1
Reimerswaal 1.1
Beemster 1.2
Giessenlanden 1.2
Kaag en Braassem 1.2
Lopik 1.2
Molenwaard 1.2
Winsum 1.2
Zederik 1.2
Ferwerderadiel 1.3
Nederweert 1.7
Zuidhorn 1.9
Cromstrijen 2.1
Aalburg 2.4
Littenseradiel 3.5

The questions

Notes

Buildings

In this text this means built-up land and semi-covered land. Built-up areas are used for living, working, shopping, going out, culture and public facilities. A semi-covered area is (paved) land that is not used as road surface or for buildings. This includes dump sites, construction sites and cemeteries.

Inland and open water

The Dutch inland waterways consist mainly of the IJsselmeer and Markermeer, the Rhine and Meuse, and various other smaller rivers, canals and lakes. The Dutch open water consists of the Wadden Sea, Eems, Dollard, the Eastern Scheldt and Western Scheldt estuaries, and part of the North Sea.

Average distance

Distance calculated over the road (motorway) from a person’s home address to the nearest facility. This is therefore not necessarily the facility that people actually use. Municipal boundaries are not taken into account in the distance calculation, because a facility in a neighbouring municipality may be closer for people who live near a municipal boundary.

Colophon

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Explanation of symbols

Explanation of symbols
Symbol Explanation
Empty cell figure not applicable
. figure is unknown, insufficiently reliable or confidential
* provisional figure
** revised provisional figure
(between two numbers) inclusive
0 (0.0) less than half of unit concerned
2016–2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 average for the years 2016 up to and including 2017
2016/’17 crop year, financial year, school year etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2004/’05–2016/’17 crop year etc. 2004/’05 up to and including 2016/’17

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

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Contributors

Concept & image editing

Irene van Kuik

Infographics

Anne Blaak

Janneke Hendriks

Richard Jollie

Hendrik Zuidhoek

Editing

Ronald van der Bie

Kees Groenenboom

Annelie Hakkenes-Tuinman

Michel van Kooten

Sidney Vergouw

Paul de Winden

Elma Wobma

Karolien van Wijk

Gert Jan Wijma

Translators

Gabriëlle de Vet

Frans Dinnissen

Final editing

Annelie Hakkenes-Tuinman

We thank all other colleagues who have contributed to this edition of The Netherlands in Numbers.