Society - Figures


From 2015 onwards, primary teachers can have the final say about the most suitable type of secondary education for each school leaver and the objective end of year attainment test is no longer decisive. However, in cases where the attainment test indicates a higher level than the teacher’s initial recommendation, the latter needs to be reconsidered. In 2015 this happened in 13 percent of the cases. By 2018, this had gone up to 23 percent. In that year, final recommendations by teachers also indicated higher levels on average than in 2015.

In the 2018/’19 school year, 48 percent of the 199 thousand students in year 3 of secondary were in senior general secondary education (HAVO), pre-university education (VWO), or a mixed class (usually HAVO/VWO). The remainder were in practical or in special secondary education. The share attending HAVO/VWO is highest among second-generation students with a western migration background and lowest among first-generation students with a non-western background.

Between 2013 and 2016, public school dropout rates at HAVO, VWO or MBO level 2 among those up to age 23 declined. The total number of early school leavers rose again in 2017 but remained below the number in 2014. The majority of dropouts are male; most of them dropped out of MBO (in 2017, for example, this was the case for 75 percent of the male and 69 percent of the female early school leavers). The remaining share had been in higher secondary or secondary education for over-18s (VAVO).

Of the students who embarked on an undergraduate course in 2008, a share of 17.9 percent had quit within two years. The number of dropouts was down to 14.1 percent among those starting in 2014. University students who switched courses have not been included here. In higher professional education (HBO), dropouts were studied in a similar fashion; here as well, first-year students from 2014 had lower dropout rates than those from 2008. Dropout rates tend to be highest in the first year and show a marginal rise after the second year. In both higher professional and university education, male students are more likely to drop out than female students.

Education expenditure went up by 20 percent to 43.8 billion euros in the span of a decade. In 2017, central government accounted for 81 percent (35.3 billion euros) of this amount; most of it was used to finance educational institutions. Households mainly paid tuition fees, textbooks, learning resources, public transportation and tutoring lessons. As for the private sector, expenditure was mainly focused on training of dual education students and interns during the practical part of their education.

In 2017, the largest amount was spent on secondary and on primary education, similar to previous years. These are also the sectors with the highest number of enrolments. Spending on primary education has remained stable in recent years around 10 billion euros. The main reason for this is that central government allocates a budget to primary schools which is based on the number of pupils; this number has declined since 2008. As of 2016, the student population in secondary education has decreased, stabilising expenditure as well.


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More information (in Dutch only):


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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