Over 200 times more cars now in NL than in 1927

The number of passenger cars in the Netherlands increased by a factor of more than 200 since 1927, Statistics Netherlands reported on Thursday. Then there were 41 thousand cars in the Netherlands. This year the country counted 8.5 million passenger cars. Almost half of Netherlands residents own a car.

According to the stats office, the massive increase is related to the growing population, incomes, and commuter traffic, among other things. 

The first edition of the motor vehicle statistics in 1927 registered 41 thousand passenger cars. That increased to 98 thousand in 1939. World War II then interrupted the growth, but the number of cars quickly started increasing again after the war. The 100 thousand mark was reached in 1949. In 1965 there were 1 million cars, and four years later 2 million. This year the country counted 8.5 million passenger car.

"The relative growth of the car fleet is just as impressive," the stats office said. The population-adjusted number of cars grew from 12 cars per 1,000 residents in 1950, to 41 cars per 1,000 residents in 1960, to 153 in 1970 and 300 in 1981. At the start of this year there were 494 cars per 1,000 residents - which means that almost one in every two people own a car. 

An important reason for the high post-war demand for cars was the development of commuter traffic. The number of people working outside the municipality they live in increased from 544 thousand in 1947 to 1.1 million in 1960 to 1.6 million in 1971. This was due to a combination of a housing shortage, the spread of industrial establishments, and the declining agricultural employment. When the housing shortage was resolved in smaller municipalities in the 1960s, and at the same time living environments in the large municipalities deteriorated, more and more people started living outside the city but still working there.