Figures - Health and care

Eight percent of the Dutch population aged 12 years or older are excessive drinkers. This means that men consume more than 21 glasses and women more than 14 glasses of alcohol per week. Men are regarded as heavy drinkers when they have 6 or more alcoholic drinks on one day; 4 or more glasses for women. Young people in their twenties are relatively the largest group of excessive or heavy drinkers. Excessive drinking is seen relatively more often than heavy drinking among people aged 55 and over.

Smoking rates among the population aged 12 years or older have declined steadily for years. In 2016, tobacco consumption was down by more than 19 percent on 15 years previously. The percentage of heavy smokers, i.e. people who smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day, has fallen as well, by over 62 percent since 2001.

More and more Dutch people are moderately to severely overweight. The percentage share of severely overweight (obese) people has doubled since 1995. In 1986, 28 percent of the Dutch population aged 4 years and over were overweight; this had become 43 percent 30 years later.

Overweight is measured on the basis of the Body Mass Index (BMI). Adults with a BMI between 25 and 30 kg/m2 are moderately overweight, while a BMI of 30 km/m2 or higher indicates obesity.

The number of medical specialists and general practitioners per 100 thousand inhabitants has increased by 61 percent and 34 percent respectively. There are mainly more female doctors. Nowadays, 40 percent of medical specialists and 50 percent of GPs are women.

The average personal expenditure on health, care and welfare was slightly lower in 2015 than in 2014. The general trend is upward, in line with the increase in total care expenditure. Personal spending includes amounts paid for care actually provided and is excluding health care insurance premiums. The average amount spent is now 80 percent higher than 15 years ago. Deductible excess, which was introduced in 2008, and long-term care contributions have gone up in particular.

Other personal care expenditure, for example on dental care or over-the-counter medicines, is around 300 euros on an annual basis.


Healthy life expectancy means the average number of years that a person is expected to live in good self-perceived health, assuming that future health and mortality risks remain unchanged. Over a span of 35 years, the average healthy life expectancy among men has increased markedly: from 60 years around 1980 to 65 years in 2015. Among women, healthy life expectancy fluctuates around 62 years.

In the period 1970–2015, mortality due to cardiovascular diseases declined among both men and women. This mortality rate – calculated per 100 thousand inhabitants and taking into account the population structure in 2015 – declined earlier among women than men, but ended up as very similar between the two sexes. Based on the same calculation method, the cancer death rate among men has dropped by more than one-third over the past three decades.

This is partly due to a decline in lung and stomach cancer deaths. Cancer mortality among women shows a gradual decline over the entire period 1970–2015, but this has slowed in recent years due to more lung cancer deaths.


In recent years, increasingly fewer people have become eligible for residential long-term care. Before 2015, long-term care was available under the General Act on Exceptional Medical Expenses (AWBZ) and the Social Support Act (Wmo). As a result of the 2015 long-term care reform, this care has been transferred to the Long-Term Care Act (Wlz), the Social Support Act 2015, the Health Care Insurance Act and the Youth Act. Residential psychiatric care now falls largely under the Health Care Insurance Act.

The share of VVT institutions (nursing homes, care homes and home care providers) that suffered turnover losses rose from 21 percent in 2014 to 29 percent in 2015. Of the institutions caring for the disabled, 12 percent faced a loss in 2015, versus 9 percent in 2014.


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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.

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