Society - Figures

Culture and society

In 2017, the National Digital Library had a total of 6.4 million digital products on loan. This represents an increase of 58 percent relative to 2015. In a span of two years, the number of lent e-books rose by 41 percent to 5.4 million while the number of active digital user accounts grew by 144 percent. In comparison with physical book lending (70.5 million), e-book lending or e-lending still occupies a modest, but rising, share: in 2015 only 5 percent of all lent books were e-books, but this had already increased to 7.6 percent in 2017.

Staged performances and concerts in the Netherlands drew 18.5 million visitors in 2017, for example 1 percent more than one year previously. The largest increase (12 percent) was in the attendance of musical theatre performances (musicals and operas). Most of the musical theatre attendance – around 80 percent – was on account of musicals. Attendance rose by 10 percent to 2.3 million. Opera attendance increased by 13 percent to 571 thousand. Despite the increase, last year’s total attendance was below that in the record year 2008.

In 2017, the turnover at professional stage venues was up by 7 percent on the previous year and by one-quarter compared to 2008. Turnover growth was mainly due to rising audience revenues, which include entrance tickets, cloakroom receipts and merchandising. In 2017, these amounted to a total revenue of 328 million euros, 15 percent more than in 2008. Even sharper growth was recorded in revenues from rentals (78 percent) and food and beverages (38 percent). Last year, the latter reached a record 124 million euros in revenue.

In 2017, 51 percent of the Dutch population had no religious denomination. The remaining 49 percent included 24 percent Roman Catholics, 6 percent Dutch Reformed, 6 percent Protestants, 5 percent Muslims, 3 percent Reformed and 6 percent with other affiliations.

For the first time in history, a majority of the Dutch population had no religious denomination: in 2017 a share of 49 percent aged 15 and over said they had a religious affiliation. This was still 54 percent in 2012. Attendance of religious services, too, has declined over time. Whereas 37 percent of the population still attended religious services at least once a month in 1971, this had declined to 16 percent by 2017.

In 2018, 45 percent of adults aged 18 and over had taken part in some form of political activity over the past five years. Petition campaigns were the most popular activity: 28 percent of women and 24 percent of men had joined such a campaign. Men are relatively more likely to contact a politician or political party or participate in a government meeting.

In 2018, over six in ten persons aged 15 and over indicated they had trust in other people, the same share as in 2017. Trust levels were up slightly as well in terms of the media, in banks, civil servants, the police, Parliament and the European Union. Trust in the judiciary, the armed forces, large corporations and the church remained at similar levels.

A clear majority say they trust authorities such as the police, the judiciary and the armed forces. Trust in politicians (42 percent) and in the European Union (45 percent) is distinctly lower despite a rise in recent years.


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Opening page and header: © Hollandse Hoogte / Martijn Beekman

Society - Trends: © Hollandse Hoogte / Patricia Rehe

Economy - Trends: © Hollandse Hoogte / Marcel Krijgsman

Labour and income - Trends: © Hollandse Hoogte / Sabine Joosten


Explanation of symbols

. Data not available
* Provisional figure
** Revised provisional figure
x Confidential
(between two whole numbers) up to and including
0 (0.0) The number is smaller than half of the selected unit
empty cell Not applicable
2018–2019 2018 to 2019 inclusive
2018/2019 Average for 2018 to 2019 inclusive
2018/’19 Crop year, financial year, school year, etc., beginning in 2018 and ending in 2019
2016/’17–2018/’19 Crop year, financial year, etc., 2016/’17 to 2018/’19 inclusive

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

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