Dutch economy saw strongest growth in two decades
The Dutch economy grew by 4.8 percent last year - the strongest growth since 1998. According to Statistics Netherlands, household consumption increased compared to 2020. Government spending was also higher than in 2020, with a lot of money invested in coronavirus support and vaccinations.
According to chief economist Peter Hein van Mulligen, the growth figure is great. "But of course, it stands against the strong contraction of 2020. Then a strong recovery last year is not so strange," he said to NU.nl.
When compared with 2019, the last year before the pandemic, economic growth last year was 0.8 percent. The 3.8 percent contraction in 2020 was therefore recovered in one year, according to Statistics Netherlands.
The Dutch economy grew slightly in the last quarter of last year, despite the Omicron coronavirus wave and new lockdown measures. According to CBS, this is mainly due to the rapidly expanding industry and government expenditure. Business services and healthcare also contributed to the growth. Due to the closure of the catering industry and non-essential shops in December, households spent slightly less than in the previous quarter.
Across the board, gross domestic product (GDP) was 0.9 percent higher than in the third quarter. The economic growth was significantly smaller than the 3.8 percent and 2.1 percent growth in the previous periods. But many economists had expected that the Netherlands would experience a contraction due to the Omicron wave. And that was not the case.
The fact that the industry is doing well is linked to the overall economic recovery. The demand for many goods has picked up considerably, and production by industrial companies is at the highest level ever. The machine-, metal-, and chemical industries, in particular, experienced significant growth as a result.
Not all sectors fully recovered last year. For the hospitality industry, one of the sectors hit hardest by the crisis, the improvements in 2021 did not outweigh the losses in 2020. According to the stats office, the added value of the hospitality industry was still over 30 percent lower last year than in 2019.
The figures in the transport sector also lagged behind two years ago. Travel agencies grew strongly last year, but they are also still far from the pre-coronavirus level. And culture and recreation industry was hit hard last year after the sharp contraction in 2020, experiencing another contraction of 3 percent. The sector still faced coronavirus restrictions all year.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times