The results of the European census, held in 32 countries, reveal that many Dutch people make use of the right of free movement of people within Europe.
At the start of 2011 nearly half a million Dutch people were living in other European countries, according to Statistics Netherlands. Belgium is the most favorite country for the Dutch.
Belgium counts most Dutch inhabitants
The censuses show that some 470 thousand Dutch-born people were living in one of the other 31 countries on 1 January 2011. Most of them stayed relatively close to home: 126 thousand and 112 thousand were living in neighbouring countries Belgium and Germany respectively.
In relative terms, too, Belgium is also home to most Dutch-born persons: 16 percent of the people from the other 31 EU and EFTA countries living in Belgium are from the Netherlands. Denmark comes second, with 4 percent. Although some 40 thousand Dutch people a year emigrate, they constitute only a modest part in the populations of other European countries. One of the reasons for this is that many emigrants return to the Netherlands sooner or later.
Relatively many young Dutch people in United Kingdom
Half of the 470 thousand people born in the Netherlands living elsewhere in Europe are women. The share of women is not equal in all countries, however. The percentage of women in Dutch populations varies from 20 and 25 percent in Estonia and Latvia respectively, to nearly 65 percent in Greece and Italy. In Belgium and Germany women account for half these countries’ Dutch population (50 and 49 percent respectively).
One-quarter of men born in the Netherlands living in another of the 31 census countries are younger than thirty. One-third are aged between thirty and fifty, and around 40 percent are fifty or older. The age pattern is similar for women, with slightly more over fifty and slightly fewer between thirty and fifty.
The age composition is not the same in all countries. In Denmark and Norway, there are relatively large shares of 30-49 year-olds. In the United Kingdom, nearly half of Dutch-born residents are younger than thirty because relatively many Dutch students live in the UK. In Belgium and Germany, the age composition corresponds to the average.