Statistics Netherlands announced today that Dutch public debt over the first quarter of 2015 amounted to 459 billion (bn) euros, i.e. 68.9 percent of GDP.
Government debt increased by 9 bn euros in Q1. Half of the national debt is owed to foreign creditors. The remaining part includes Dutch banks, pension funds and insurers. In 1995, less than one-quarter of public debt was in the hands of foreign creditors, e.g. foreign pension funds or (central) banks.
Since 2008, the share of Dutch banks, pension funds and insurers has gradually risen to over 45 percent at the end of Q1 2015. The increase is because government bonds are considered safe investments.
During the financial crisis, Dutch banks, pension funds and insurers bought bonds issued by the Dutch government to comply with the capital requirements imposed by the Dutch Central Bank.