Top causes of death incl. cancer, cardiovascular disease; Suicide rate falls

Those in the Netherlands who are suffering from depression or contemplating suicide may call counselors at Luisterlijn, 0900-0767 (5 ct./min.), or call their volunteers at a local number. 113 Zelfmoordpreventie is also available 24/7 at number 0900-0113. A list of suicide crisis hotlines outside the Netherlands is available on Wikipedia.

Some 151,885 people died in across the Netherlands in 2019, with cancer and cardiovascular diseases as the primary causes of death. About 1,500 fewer people died in the Netherlands in 2019 compared to a year earlier, and just over 22 percent were under the age of 70, national data agency Statistics Netherlands (CBS) said this week. Some 51 percent of those who passed away were women.

Roughly 45 thousand people (30%) passed away as a result of cancer, with just under ten thousand people dying from lung cancer alone. Lymphoma also led to 3,700 deaths, and 3,500 people lost their battle with colorectal cancer.

Cancer has been the number one cause of death for women in the Netherlands since 2016, and for men since 2005. The number of people who have died annually due to cancer has risen by 80 percent compared to 1970, when the disease killed 25 thousand. At the same time, cardiovascular disease as a cause of death fell by 46 percent over the past 50 years, from 50 thousand people to 37 thousand.

Cardiovascular disease was the reported cause in 25 percent of natural deaths last year, followed by mental and nervous system diseases (14.2%), respiratory illness (8.3%), and digestive diseases (5.7%).

Nearly 8,700 people (6%) died as a result of an unnatural cause, including accidental deaths, homicides and suicides.

Suicide rate drops

The suicide rate in the Netherlands dropped slightly with 1,811 people taking their own lives in 2019, about one percent lower than a year earlier. While there was an 11 percent decline in suicides among women (579 in 2019), male suicides increased by five percent to 1,232, the CBS said.

Some 67 people under 20 took their own lives last year, up from 51 in 2018. That was still below the total of 87 calculated in 2017. Last year there were also increases of suicides committed by people in their sixties, and people older than 80. Of all age categories, those who ended their lives were most likely to be in their fifties for at least the third year in a row.

Zeeland was the municipality with the most suicides per capita in 2019. Per 100,000 inhabitants, 15.1 in the province took their own lives. Flevoland had the fewest per capita suicides, at 4.5 per 100,000 residents.

Collectively, the national suicide rate was at 10.4 per 100 thousand people living in the Netherlands. "The suicide rate was at its highest in the early 1980s (14.8 per 100 thousand people) and lowest in 2007 at 8.4 per 100 thousand inhabitants," the CBS stated.