Another crisis: nearly half of all Dutch people feel lonely, study finds

Listen, we hate to hit you with more bad news, but it’s our job. Statistic Netherlands (CBS) has discovered that more than four in ten Dutch people over the age of 15 felt lonely last year, the NOS

On top of this, since the COVID-19 pandemic, the percentage of people between the ages of 15 to 25 who feel extremely emotionally lonely in the Netherlands has almost doubled, increasing from 8% of people in 2019, to 14% in 2021. 

Why so lonely?

This huge increase in the number of people feeling emotionally lonely has got to have a cause. According to experts, it most likely has something to do with the fact that we all spent about two years stuck inside

Staying indoors all the time, with no friends or family to speak to, would surely make someone feel lonely. 😥

During the long months of lockdown, it was easy for people to feel lonely. Image: Unsplash

While the survey conducted by CBS did not ask participants where the feelings of loneliness came from, sociologist Tanja Traag tells ANP that the “corona pandemic has almost certainly played a role among young people.” 

READ MORE | A sad state of affairs: Dutch girls are more depressed than they were five years ago

For many of us, the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns came just at the crux of major milestones; 18th birthdays, university graduations, first ‘real’ jobs, and leaving school. 

Anti-loneliness fund 

It’s not all bad news, however. The Dutch government has set aside €40 million to use over the next four years to combat loneliness amongst Dutch people. The funds will be used to organise anti-loneliness projects in local municipalities. 

READ MORE | The Netherlands is a lonely country for expats, survey finds

Well, we see that as good an excuse as any to get dressed up, and get out there! 💃

A basic need for every human being

State Secretary Van Ooijen says to the House of Representatives that “The feeling of ‘belonging’ and ‘matter’ is a basic need for every human being.” 

According to Maslow’s pyramid, the human need to feel like we belong ranks third in terms of what we need to be truly happy.

With that being said, we all know that a small bit of kindness can go a long way. Perhaps smile at the stranger across the road from you, or say hello to your local, mildly annoying, elderly person on an e-bike

Looks like we all need it!

How do you keep the feelings of loneliness at bay? Let us know in a comment!

Feature Image:Unsplash
Heather Slevin
Heather Slevin
Heather is a Dublin native, addicted to catching the Luas, the Irish version of a tram, for one stop, and well used to the constant rain and shine. Seeking to swap one concrete city for another (with a few more canals and a friendlier attitude to cyclists) here she is with the Dutch Review! As a Creative Writing student, she can usually be found sweating over the complicated formatting of her latest poem or deep inside the pages of a book, and loves writing, writing, writing.


  1. I am an 80 year old woman and find your comment about mildly annoying elderly persons on an e-bike more than mildly annoying! And I hope you find my comment more than mildly annoying and learn a little lesson…


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