Netherlands population to grow to 18.3 million in 2035, especially in cities

Street party in Spuibuurt in Amsterdam
Street party in Spuibuurt in AmsterdamPhoto: EBFoto/DepositPhotos

By 2035 the population of the Netherlands will count 18.3 million people, 1 million more than in 2019, according to Statistics Netherlands and the Netherlands' environmental assessment agency PBL. Most of the population growth will happen in the large and medium-sized cities, and the municipalities around them. But 1 in 5 municipalities will also shrink, especially on the edges of the Netherlands.

Nearly 75 percent of the expected population growth of 1 million people will happen in large and medium-sized cities - municipalities with at least 100 thousand inhabitants. Amsterdam will get the most new inhabitants, growing by 150 thousand people to over 1 million residents by 2035. That is an increase of almost 20 percent compared to this year. 

Utrecht's population will grow by more than 20 percent to 425,700 residents in 2035. And the populations in Rotterdam and The Hague will each grow by 15 percent, to 732,300 residents for Rotterdam and 608,900 for The Hague. 

According to the stats office, the populations of the large cities are relatively young and their population growth can therefore mainly be attributed to more babies being born than people dying. The cities are also attractive to immigrants, including migrant workers from elsewhere in the European Union, expats and international students. Municipalities near the large cities, like Almere and Haarlemmermeer near Amsterdam, Zuidplas near Rotterdam, and Rijswijk near The Hague, will also grow.

In Noord-Brabant, the cities of Eindhoven, Tilburg, 's-Hertogenbosch and Breda will see their populations grow. As will cities in the north like Groningen and Assen, and cities in the east such as Zwolle, Arnhem and Nijmegen.

But smaller municipalities on the edges of the country will face further shrinkage in the coming decades, according to he stats office. This especially concerns municipalities in the northeast of Groningen, Drenthe, the Achterhoek, Limburg and Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. After 2035, they will shrink even more rapidly as the Netherlands' population growth will slow down. The shrinkage can partly be attributed to the fact that these smaller municipalities have a larger proportion of elderly residents.