Edition 2020

Photo description: Young woman shouting slogans during a strike by care workers.

How many employees are members of a trade union?

In 2019, 18 percent of all employees were members of a trade union. The percentage among men is somewhat higher at above 19 percent than for women at almost 17 percent. This is evident from the Netherlands Working Conditions Survey (NEA), conducted jointly by CBS and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO).

19%17%How many workers belong to a trade union?15 to 24 yrs25 to 34 yrs35 to 44 yrs55 to 64 yrs45 to 54 yrs65 to 74 yrs7%12%17%22%31%26%

Employees aged 55 to 64 years are trade union members most often

At 31 percent, employees between 55 and 64 years of age were most frequently trade union members in 2019, and over a fifth of those aged between 45 and 54 years were also trade union members. Among the youngest employees (15 to 24 years), 7 percent were trade union members.

Trade union membership by age, 2019 (% of employees)
Leeftijd 2019
15 to 24 yrs 6.6
25 to 34 yrs 12.4
35 to 44 yrs 17.0
45 to 54 yrs 21.7
55 to 64 yrs 30.7
65 to 74 yrs 25.7

26 strikes

In 2019 there were 26 strikes, involving 319 thousand employees. Employees in manufacturing most often went on strike, followed by employees active in the transport and storage sector. There are also the two sectors that have historically seen the most frequent strikes.

Year Strikes
1999 24
2000 23
2001 16
2002 16
2003 14
2004 12
2005 28
2006 31
2007 20
2008 21
2009 25
2010 21
2011 17
2012 18
2013 24
2014 25
2015 27
2016 25
2017 32
2018 28
2019 26

The questions


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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.

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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.