Why are there so many mice in the Netherlands?

Friend or fiend?🐭

We all know by now that the Netherlands has more bikes than people. But what we definitely don’t want to know is the number of mice sharing the land of tulips with us. 

If you have ever lived in the Netherlands, you probably noticed that the number of mice per apartment is way higher than in most other countries.

Why is it such a problem?

First of all, it depends on how you look at it. There are quite a few people in the Netherlands who are way too used to the fact that we share our little gezellige homes with mice.

They think of mice as an inevitable part of Dutch households, sometimes even considered as family members. For them, they are just tiny furry friends with a nickname and complex identities — not a problem. 

However, there’s also another group of people (me!) who are less comfortable with the appearance of these furry friends. Many of us come from countries where it’s not common to share our bedroom with a mouse, and we are not ready to give that up. 

Screaming people at home, in restaurants, airports and basically anywhere in the country often ask the question: why are mice obsessed with the Netherlands? And that’s a very valid question.

Why are there more mice in the Netherlands than in other countries?

That’s a tricky one. You would think that the number of mice parallels the number of garbage trucks, but the answer is not that easy. 

In fact, the Netherlands is definitely on the tidy side when it comes to public spaces. While it is not the cleanest country in Europe, in 2024, it was ranked as the 11th cleanest country in the world, just after Iceland. 

Everyone loves Dutch cheese, especially mice! Image: Depositphotos

However, humans are not the only creatures on planet Earth who love the historic Dutch canals and architecture.

In fact, old Dutch houses, with their many holes and cracks, offer the mice a place to stay warm and cosy, while those gorgeous non-salty canals are the perfect refreshment for a thirsty lil’ mouse.

And, of course, where there are people, there is food — and where there is food, there will be mice. So, overall, Dutch cities truly are an ideal environment for mice. 🐁

What’s their relationship with the Dutchies?

As mentioned above, some locals are pretty chill about having visitors in their kitchen. Those who are less comfortable sharing their house with mice try several methods to kick them out of their homes. 

A strange custom in the Netherlands is that the Dutch find it perfectly normal to borrow their neighbour’s cats if a mouse shows up. 

READ MORE | Cats are causing 140 million deaths each year, and only some of their victims are furniture

In fact, this is one of the reasons why so many Dutch households have cats — they are handy players in the circle of life and are famous for getting the job done. 

Ideally, they are more effective than this. 🥲

How to get rid of mice in the Netherlands

So enough is enough; it’s time to just rid your house of them, right? Ambitious thinking! Let’s see what you can do to prevent or get rid of your creepy little intruder!

Buy some poison — while you still can

Many people can quickly turn into heartless serial killers when it comes to dealing with mice. The tool can be poison, a trap or your bare hands; only the result matters.  🪤

For those who are on the poison side when it comes to killing mice, we have bad news: In the Netherlands, it’s illegal to kill mice using poison. 

READ MORE | How to survive rats in the Netherlands

Yup, in 2023, the Dutch Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (CTGB) deemed that mouse poison is too harmful to birds of prey, and therefore must be banned.

Eet smakelijk! Mice are smarter than we think. Image: Depositphotos

Alternative methods 

The web is full of life hacks on how to build the perfect animal-friendly traps and what to use to make them disgusted by us. (The same way as we are by them. 👀)

Here are a few things that can help to make your home less charming for mice: 

  • peppermint essential oil
  • clove essential oil
  • moth balls
  • ammonia
  • soap detergent and tabasco sauce

Get the big guns in — call an exterminator

If you’ve done all you can and you’re still hearing those little peeps and squeaks, it’s time to turn to the professionals.

There are several companies in the Netherlands that organise well-planned mice murders, so you don’t have to get your hands dirty. 

They claim that they will help to get rid of the mice, and you won’t get any diseases they can spread. If that sounds like your kind of method, here’s a list of Dutch rodent control companies: 

Prevent, prevent, prevent

Older houses often have holes in their walls. Mice think of them as tunnels for their import-export business trips. (Well, mainly export.) It can be a good solution to find these holes, plan a raid, and shut down the shop. 

For mice, the plaster and the foam in the wall are considered as a starter before the big feast. Make sure that you close the walls with a material that they can’t eat, such as steel wool. 

If you want long-term help, you can also try to adopt a cat and create a Tom and Jerry situation in your home. Most cats will happily help you out, and they will do the dirty part of the job. At the end of the day, you will only need to clean up the remaining lumps and guts…

It looks like a checkmate. Image: Depositphotos

One final preventative technique is to keep your food in closed airtight boxes, so they’ll have one less reason to choose our home as their place of business, leisure, and foodly pleasures.

How to get used to mice in the Netherlands

Let’s face it. Ultimately, we can pack our whole kitchen into airtight boxes, close all the holes in the walls, commit murder in multiple ways, and adopt all the cats in the neighbourhood. 

But at the end of the day, sometimes you’re going to have a mouse in the house. It’s about as inevitable as having your bike stolen. Some of us simply won’t ever be comfortable with that pitter-patter sound across your floorboards — and that’s ok.

However, you can get used to expecting them. And you can get used to adopting the above mice-preventing habits.

They will come into our homes, and we have to accept that it’s simply a part of life in the Netherlands. 

But remember, they’re probably way more terrified of us than we are of them. 

(Ok, I’m not so sure about that. 😁)

Do you have an ultimate method to get rid of mice, or are you already friends with them? Tell us in the comments!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Mihály Droppa
Mihály Droppa
Mihály fell in love with (and in) Amsterdam, so he quit his NGO job in Budapest and moved to Amsterdam to become a journalist. His apartment is full of plants and books, two dogs, and a random mouse in the kitchen. You might find him in Vondelpark, where he spends most of his life throwing tennis balls for his vizslas and listening to podcasts. His nickname is Mex — ask him why!

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What do you think?

  1. This is a crazy report. Though if true insightful about the Dutch being ok with mice though contrary. Sorry but ridiculous article.

  2. Dutchies need the Kness Ketch-All Mousetrap made in Albia, Iowa, USA. You need no poison and you can also add a drowning attachment.

  3. We bought a house and suprise many mouses. We got diarrea and throwed up even Blood. So no thanks get rid of the mouses they get a los of diseases.


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