Edition 2022

Foto omschrijving: Cheese market in Alkmaar.

How much cheese do we produce?

In 2021, the Netherlands made 946.8 million kilograms of cheese from cow’s milk. In addition, the Netherlands imported 381.8 million kilograms of cow’s cheese, and exported 942.8 million kilograms. Per inhabitant, Dutch people eat an average of 22.1 kilograms of cheese made from cow’s milk. The Netherlands ranks fourth among cow’s cheese producing countries in the EU, following Germany, France and Italy.

386 mln kgconsumptieconsumption943 mln kgexportexports947 mln kgNederlandse productiedomestic production382 mln kgimportimportsHoeveel kaas produceren we?How much cheese do we produce?

About 26 million kilograms (2.7 percent) less cheese was produced in 2021 than in 2020. Never before has so much cheese been produced in the Netherlands as in 2020, when 972.7 million kilograms of cheese were made from cow’s milk. That year, more milk was delivered to dairies, and a greater proportion of the milk delivered was also used to produce cheese.noot1

Cheese produced from cow's milk (million kg)
Jaar Non-organic
2015 845
2016 888
2017 874
2018 880
2019 922
2020 971
2021* 944
* Provisional figures

Almost 60 percent of the milk is used for cheese

Dutch dairies received a total of 14 billion kilograms of fresh cow’s milk in 2020. This represents 94 percent of the total milk production of Dutch cows. Dairy farmers keep the remaining 6 percent for their own use, e.g. for rearing young stock and for their own production of dairy products. Cheese production used 8.3 billion kilograms of cow’s milk that year. This represents 59 percent of the total supply. One kilogram of cheese requires approximately 8.5 kilograms of cow’s milk.

Goat cheese and buffalo cheese too

In addition to cheese made from cow’s milk, cheese is also made from goat’s milk in the Netherlands. In 2020, 27 million kilograms of goat cheese was produced here. In the European Union, only France and Spain produce more goat cheese than the Netherlands.

Cheese is also made from mixed milk and buffalo milk, around 2 million kilograms in 2020. A total of 190 million kilograms of milk was used to make goat cheese, mixed cheese and buffalo cheese. This is about 6.5 kilograms of milk for each kilogram of cheese.

Use of milk by dairies (bn kg)
Jaar For cheese production For other products
2015 7.37 5.96
2016 7.57 6.75
2017 7.65 6.65
2018 7.70 6.18
2019 7.82 5.98
2020 8.27 5.72

Per inhabitant, 22.1 kg of cheese made from cow’s milk

In 2021, the Netherlands had 17.5 million inhabitants, which means that per year, per person some 54 kilograms of factory-made cheese is made from cow’s milk. The Netherlands also imported 381.8 million kilograms of cow’s cheese, adding up to a cheese production of 1,328.6 million kilograms. The Dutch population does not eat that much cheese; most of it (942.8 million kilograms) is destined for foreign countries. What remained in the Netherlands was 385.7 million kilograms of cow’s cheese. Converted to the number of inhabitants, this is 22.1 kg of cheese made from cow’s milk per inhabitant.

The questions


Dairy farmers in the Netherlands supply about 95 percent of milk to dairies. They keep the remaining 5 percent for their own use, e.g. for rearing young stock and for their own production of dairy products, such as farm cheese. The amounts of cheese mentioned in this section only refer to the production of factory cheese in dairies.

The figures from 2021 are provisional.


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Explanation of symbols

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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Concept & image editor

Irene van Kuik


Hendrik Zuidhoek

Janneke Hendriks

Richard Jollie


Gert Jan Wijma

Karolien van Wijk

Michel van Kooten

Paul de Winden

Ronald van der Bie

Sidney Vergouw



Gabriëlle de Vet

Frans Dinnissen

Final editor

Elma Wobma

We thank all CBS colleagues who have contributed to this edition of The Netherlands in numbers.