Netherlands population crosses 17 million mark

Multicultural Crowd (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/mattbuck)Multicultural Crowd (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/mattbuck)

On Monday the Netherlands' population will cross the 17 million mark. It took 15 years for the population to go from 16 million people to 17 million, Statistics Netherlands announced on Monday.

It is not clear who exactly the 17 millionth resident of the Netherlands is. This is because Statistics Netherlands are not given names. The statistics office basis its figures on people registered in the Netherlands. This includes Dutch, but also foreign workers, refugees with a residency permit and asylum seekers who have been living in the Netherlands for at least 6 months, but are still going through the asylum process. New asylums seekers and undocumented migrants are not included in the count.

Early this month Statistics Netherlands calculated that the 17th million resident is more likely to be male than female and more likely to be an immigrant than a baby.

According to Statistics Netherlands, the biggest portion of the million people added to the population in the past 15 years ended up in the Randstad. Amsterdam added the most new residents in this period with nearly 100 thousand, followed by Utrecht with nearly 83 thousand, The Hague with almost 67 thousand and Almere with 48 thousand. With 20 thousand new inhabitants, Rotterdam fell somewhat behind.

Not all municipalities grew in the period between 2001 and 2016. 109 of the 390 municipalities saw their populations shrink. The Zuid-Limburg municipalities of Heerlen, Kerkrade and Sittard-Geleen saw the biggest decrease.

With 17 million people currently living in the Netherlands, that means that there is an average of 504 people per square kilometer of land area, compared to 475 in 2001. The Hague has the highest population density, with 6,344 people per square kilometer. The municipalities of Leiden, Haarlem and Amsterdam also have population densities of more than 5 thousand people per square kilometer.

People living in large parts of the northern provinces and several Zeeland municipalities have the most room. 22 municipalities have less than 100 people per square kilometer. The Wadden islands in particular are sparsely populated. Schiermonikoog and Vlieland have fewer than 30 inhabitants per square kilometer.