New record: Over 2 million businesses in Netherlands

On January 1st there were 2,000,404 businesses in the Netherlands - the first time ever this counter topped 2 million, according to figures from the Dutch chamber of commerce KvK. The number of companies in the Netherlands increased by almost 100 thousand last year, an increase of 5 percent, NOS reports.

A total of 230 thousand new businesses opened in the Netherlands in 2019, and 131 thousand closed or went bankrupt, which means that on balance almost 100 thousand companies were added to the country. The sectors that attracted the most new businesses were construction, health, retail, hospitality, and logistics. The most new companies opened in Flevoland, Zuid-Holland, and Noord-Holland, the least in Limburg. 

The proportion of entrepreneurs who were not born in the Netherlands increased by one percent to 16 percent. Almost a quarter of entrepreneurs who opened a business last year were not born in the Netherlands. These entrepreneurs largely work in hospitality, logistics and construction. Many migrant-entrepreneurs are active in the provinces of Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, and Flevoland. 

The average age of entrepreneurs in the Netherlands is around 46 years and has been stable for years. But the average age of starting entrepreneurs decreased slightly, from 36 years in 2018 to 35 years in 2019. This is partly due to the large number of teenagers, up to the age of 18, among new freelancers - self-employed with no employees. In 2015 there were 1,944 such young freelancers. Five years later that number rose to 6,572. 

"More and more young people do not stock shelves or deliver newspapers, but start their own business", Gerdine Annaars, advisor for enterprising young people at the KvK, said to NOS. "A nice and educational way to earn a little extra and a good run-up to a real company."

Two thirds of entrepreneurs in the Netherlands are men, a proportion that hasn't changed in recent years. The proportion of women among starting entrepreneurs decreased slightly last year, from 38 percent in 2018 to 37 percent in 2019. A massive 80 percent of teenagers starting a business were men last year. 


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