Figures - Enterprises

The number of businesses in the Netherlands has grown steadily since 2007 and stood at just over 1.6 million at the beginning of Q2 2017. In each year since 2007, the number of one-man businesses has increased more significantly than the number of businesses with other legal structures. One-man businesses are a popular legal form among the self-employed. Over one-quarter of all one man-businesses operate in business services.

The highest number of enterprises is found in the business services sector: 380 thousand at the beginning of Q2 2017, which are often one-man businesses (sole traders). The sector trade, transportation and hotels and restaurants ranks second with nearly 320 thousand enterprises, followed by the sector government, education and care and the sector culture, recreation and other services, each comprising around 200 enterprises and institutions. The sector renting and real estate activities had the lowest number of enterprises at the beginning of Q2 2017, namely 25 thousand.

Almost two-thirds of all enterprises and institutions are sole proprietorships (one-man businesses). Another common business structure is the private limited liability company (Besloten Vennootschap, BV). In Q2 2017, more than one out of five companies had this legal form . One in ten are general partnerships (Vennootschap Onder Firma, VOF).

In 2016, 5 thousand companies went out of business: 4.4 thousand enterprises and institutions and 600 persons registered as sole traders. The total number of bankruptcies in 2016 was 17 percent lower than in 2015. It is also the lowest level since 2009. As in previous years, most bankruptcies were pronounced in the trade sector, followed by financial services.


This web publication was developed by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in cooperation with Textcetera The Hague.
If you have a question or comment about this publication, please contact us

Disclaimer and copyright


Explanation of symbols

empty cell Not applicable
. Data not available
* Provisional figure
** Revised provisional figure (but not definite)
2016-2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 Average for 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/’17 Crop year, financial year, school year, etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2014/’15-2016/’17 Crop year, financial year, etc., 2014/’15 to 2016/’17 inclusive

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

About CBS

The statutory task of Statistics Netherlands (CBS) is to compile official statistics and to make the resulting information available through publication. CBS publishes reliable and coherent statistical information, which is shared with other authorities, citizens, policymakers, scientists, the media and the business community. In other words, CBS enables people to have debates on social issues on the basis of reliable statistical information.

CBS provides insights into facts. The information published by CBS is on subjects which are affecting every citizen of the Netherlands, ranging from economic growth and consumer prices to crime and leisure.

Apart from being responsible for the national (official) statistics, CBS also has the duty to produce European (community) statistics. These form the bulk of CBS’ work programme.

For more information on CBS’s tasks, organisation and publications, go to


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