Edition 2020

Photo description: Aerial image of Sloehaven port in Vlissingen, with a transshipment of cars.

How does CBS calculate the figures?

The Statistics Netherlands Act of 1996 stipulated that CBS must reduce the administrative burden (from survey taking) to a minimum and allowed CBS to access government key registers for statistical purposes. Wherever possible, CBS has therefore switched from sample surveys among individuals and companies to data collection using administrative sources from other public authorities.

Which data do we need?Which data do we have?Which data do we lack?Which sources can we use?Surveytaking: preparations2. Preparations Deploy the required resources (registrations, big data and surveys where applicable)3. Data collection Technical monitoring Anonymisation of response4. Anonymity European obligations and additionalrequests from the fields of practice,policymaking and science1. The question ••••••••••How are figures calculated by CBS?
StatLineError correction Calculation of missing data Adjust survey sample size for population size5. Analysis and processing Ensure prevention of data disclosure atthe individual levelCell suppression (SDC) using CBS software6. Statistical security Different channels: StatLine,website, social media, etc. Different forms: animation,press conference, news release,video, paper etc.7. Publication

In addition to these government key registers, CBS is also increasingly using business records. For example, scanner data from cash registers at supermarkets to calculate price developments, or data from energy companies on household and business energy consumption.

Combining data from a variety of registers creates new possibilities. Moreover, new data sources are essential in maintaining the quality of statistics. Over the past few years, more and more new data sources (including big data) have emerged and methods of collection have become increasingly varied. Combining all these data sources in an innovative and reliable way creates greater possibilities to produce new, up-to-date, society-oriented and more detailed statistics. With a keen eye for privacy and reliability.

The statistical process – step by step

  1. The question. It may be based on a statutory national or European obligation or a request from a ministry, for instance.
  2. Preparations. This phase contains several steps, starting with identifying what data are needed and what data are already available, such as data from the Personal Records Database, the key register WOZ (Valuation of Immovable Property) and the Trade Register. The next step is to determine if any additional data are needed and identify their sources. Examples include registers, surveys and big data. If there are no adequate existing sources, an additional survey may need to be prepared. In this survey, the focus is on sample design and sample method, among other things.
  3. Data collection. This involves obtaining data from all the necessary sources and performing technical inspections. If necessary, the surveys are conducted and the responses collected and entered.
  4. Anonymity. Data from registers and survey questionnaires are pseudonymised as quickly as possible after they come in by immediately removing identifying attributes.
  5. Analysis and processing. During the data analysis and processing, CBS identifies and corrects evident errors. In addition, various methods are used to estimate missing data, based on other available information. This is added to the existing sources. If – in case of a survey – a sample was drawn, the data are raised to match the requested population level.
  6. Statistical security. Here, careful checks are performed with respect to possible disclosure of individual data in cells intended for publication. There may be no risk that data of individual companies and/or persons can be derived from the data. If such a risk exists, cells for publication are automatically aggregated or values are removed from those cells. CBS will never publish statistical information about individual persons and/or companies or provide this to third parties.
  7. Publication. This important step entails dissemination of reliable and coherent statistical information among the largest possible audience. This is done via the media and directly, through various CBS channels (e.g. StatLine, website and social media). CBS uses various forms of publication (including animation, news release, paper, press conference, video etc.).

The questions


This web publication was developed by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in cooperation with Textcetera The Hague.
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Disclaimer and copyright


On this website, CBS uses functional cookies on this website to allow proper functioning of the site. These cookies do not contain personal user data and have minimal or no consequences for your privacy. In addition, CBS uses analytical cookies to track visitor statistics, including the number of page views, which topics users are searching, and how visitors reach our website. The purpose is to gain insight into the functioning of the website in order to improve your user experience. We minimise traceability of visitors to our website as much as possible by anonymising the final octet (group of eight bits) of each IP address. These data are not shared with other parties. CBS does not use tracking cookies. Tracking cookies are cookies that track visitors during their browsing of other websites.

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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.

About CBS

CBS responds to developments in Dutch society by providing statistical information as facts that matter, and communicates on these facts with the outside world. In doing so, CBS offers insights into current developments in society and helps answer policy questions. Research at CBS is focused on broad trends in society and how these are interrelated.

CBS has offices in The Hague, Heerlen and Bonaire with altogether approximately 2,000 staff. A society-oriented working attitude is essential to CBS. CBS provides figures which are relevant to society. Every year, CBS publishes around 600 statistical studies. Virtually every day, CBS data and figures are communicated to the outside world via news releases, video messages and through social media. This results in some 50,000 articles per year in daily newspapers and on news sites.

For more information on CBS’s tasks, organisation and publications, go to cbs.nl/en-gb.


Should you have any questions or need more information, please contact us.


Concept & image editing

Irene van Kuik


Anne Blaak

Janneke Hendriks

Richard Jollie

Hendrik Zuidhoek


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


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.