The Abysmal Dutch Economy

Forget Spain’s unemployment figures, Greece’s deplorable economy or even Italian style corruption. DutchReview doesn’t like to talk about it, but it’s the Dutch economy that sucks the hardest at the moment. You don’t even need decent arguments to back up such a claim when renowned news outlets like CNBC are publishing articles with the words ‘Abysmal’ and Dutch economy in the same sentence.

Potato Dutch economy
It’s back to a potato-based diet for the Dutch

Okay, maybe the Dutch economy isn’t the worst one in Europe. But it’s definitely not doing as it is supposed and expected to be doing. The Dutch economy usually takes after the German one, and our big and always-friendly neighbor to the East is currently experiencing another Wirtschaftswunder. So why is the Dutch economy doing as lousy as it is?

The Dutch Housing market
Housing prices are dropping continuously, nobody succeeds in selling their house, nobody can get a mortgage from the bank to buy a house. We’re all stuck and nobody is moving.

Back in the 90’s the Dutch unemployment rate used to be Europe’s shiny beacon of economic prowess. The Dutch were stereotypically tolerant, our politicians classically boring and everybody held a job. When you graduated in anything the Dutch multinationals were standing by, ready to offer you a job if you could just read and write.
unemployment Dutch EconomyHow different things are today, unemployment levels are now approaching that of the 1980’s and show no sign of decreasing. The upcoming influx of Eastern European workers probably doesn’t help to get those numbers down.

Oh yes, the politicians are always to blame. While the rest of Europe is slowly getting out of the aforementioned economic abyss, we are still only digging our heels in deeper. Nearly all economic specialists are calling out not to carry out new austerity measures, yet that is exactly what this government plans to do.
Need a strong government and lots of legitimacy to carry out your proposals? Our government lacks a majority in the senate.
Useful to get the budget deficit up over 3% in order to foster any economic growth? Our government has lectured other countries for years on this matter, so now we are forced to carry out the same stupendous austerity measures as other countries had to do as well because we whined so hard about it.
Do we have something that is making a profit? Lets quickly sell this profitable bank and lose billions in the process.


This sums it all up nicely, also featuring in this movie are some of the worst Dutch-English accent’s of all-time.

All in and all, tough times are still ahead for the Dutch economy and growth is not to be expected for this year. For all you expats reading this, what is still keeping you here?

Abuzer van Leeuwen 🇳🇱
Abuzer van Leeuwen 🇳🇱
Founded DutchReview. Rotterdammer living in Leiden. Politics, innovation and epic food-reviews are his thing. Interested in doing anything with DutchReview? Contact him at abuzer[at]


  1. “For all you expats reading this, what is still keeping you here?”

    To answer this
    “When you graduated in anything the Dutch multinationals were standing by, ready to offer you a job if you could just read and write.”
    a lot of Dutch students are “average” and not ready to “fight”. Cos they got everything in a nice package, just because they are Dutch students.
    Students from other less fortunate countries are willing to fight to obtain. And they come to NL and get the positions from multinationals, which have needs for higher profiles than 20 years ago.
    and this is also why unemployment rates rise

  2. Love and adventure! That’s what’s keeping me here

    If it weren’t for the fact that I can fill specific nichés with my fluency in English and Norwegian I would be even more unemployed than I already am!

    Also, you’d expect the prices on hiring would go down a little, what with all these people who can’t sell their houses. There are lots of housing projects that suffer from this. Idiotic that they can’t lower the prices a tad to make it easier for young people to establish themselves. Some of the apartments we’ve been looking at require us to earn five times the hiring cost. That’s harsh when renting a decent apartment will cost us around 800 Euro excluding utilities!

    • Problem is there are still many more people looking to rent than there are properties available. The Netherlands is a small country with limited space and there are hardly any new houses being built due to the economic recession which has badly affected the building trade. Maybe there should be a project set up to convert al the thousands of square metres of empty office buildings on industrial lots into affordable housing 😉


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