Gelderland the Netherlands’ wealthiest province; Zeeland the poorest

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Gelderland is the wealthiest province in the Netherlands with an equity of 4.7 billion euros end 2014. Noord-Brabant came in 2nd place with an equity of 3 billion euros. Zeeland is the poorest with 139 million euros.

This is according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands on Tuesday.

According to the statistics office, the large differences in the provinces' equities are the result of the sale of energy companies Essent and Nuon, which were sold at a profit of 13 billion euros in 2009. Only the provinces of Zeeland, Zuid-Holland and Utrecht did not have any shares in these companies.

The combined equity of all the provinces amounts to 15.9 billion euros at the end of last year, 0.8 billion euros less than a year earlier and 1.6 billion euros less than in 2011. This is the third year in a row that the total equity has decreased.

The largest part of the provinces' combined equity - 8.1  billion euros - is in long-term investments and deposits, last year it was 9 billion euros. According to Statistics Netherlands, the decrease can be attributed to the introduction of treasury banking. Provinces are no longer allowed to completely re-invest their matured investments outside the government. Instead they must go to the State treasury banking or lend their money to other governments.

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