Sharp increase in drownings in NL last year

Lifeguard tower at the beach
Lifeguard tower at the beach. (Photo: Rawpixel/DepositPhotos)

A total of 112 residents of the Netherlands drowned in the country last year, 27 more than in 2017, Statistics Netherlands reported on Monday. The stats office attributes the increase partly to the hot summer of last year. In addition to the Dutch who drowned, a total of 26 non-residents also drowned in the Netherlands last year.

Among Netherlands residents, men are much more likely to drown than women. Last year 89 men and 23 women died from drowning, compared to 67 and 18 respectively in 2017. The number of men who drowned has been three to four times higher than the number of women for years. The number of drownings among children under the age of 10 remained stable at 8, the number of teenagers who drowned decreased from 9 in 2017 to 6 last year. 

The number of drownings in the Netherlands decreased steadily for decades. In the 1950s between 400 and 500 residents drowned in the country per year. That number has been fluctuating at around 88 since the year 2000. Last year was the first major increase in the number of drownings since 2002.

Per 100 thousand inhabitants, Netherlands residents with a non-Western background drown three times as often as people with a Dutch background, according to the stats office. Between 2014 and 2018, a total of 1.44 persons per 100 thousand residents with a non-Western background drowned in the Netherlands, compared to 0.45 per 100 thousand residents with a Dutch background. 

Last year 26 foreign visitors drowned in the Netherlands. Half of them came from Germany. According to Statistics Netherlands, Germany also accounted for the most tourists who visited the Netherlands.

The most drownings happened in the summer months. In July there were 0.43 drownings per day last year. In June there were 0.33. 

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