Government; expenditure on education and student grants, loans since 1900

Table description


This table gives an overview of government expenditure on regular education in the Netherlands since 1900. All figures presented have been calculated according to the standardised definitions of the OECD.

Government expenditure on education consists of expenditure by central and local government on education institutions and education. The government finances schools, colleges and universities. It pays for research and development conducted by universities. Furthermore it provides student grants and loans, allowances for school costs, provisions for students with a disability and child care allowances to households as well as subsidies to companies and non-profit organisations.

Total government expenditure is broken down into expenditure on education institutions and education on the one hand and government expenditure on student grants and loans and allowances for school costs to households on the other. If applicable these subjects are broken down into pre-primary and primary education, special needs primary education, secondary education, senior secondary vocational and adult education, higher professional education and university education. Data are available from 1900. Figures for the Second World War period are based on estimations due to a lack of source material.

The table also includes the indicator government expenditure on education as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). This indicator is used to compare government expenditure on education internationally. The indicator is compounded on the basis of definitions of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). The indicator is also presented in the StatLine table Education; Education expenditure and CBS /OECD indicators. Figures for the First World War and Second World War period are not available for this indicator due to a lack of reliable data on GDP for these periods.

The statistic on Education spending is compiled on a cash basis. This means that the education expenditure and revenues are allocated to the year in which they are paid out or received. However, the activity or transaction associated with the payment or receipt can take place in a different year.

Statistics Netherlands published the revised National Accounts in June 2018. Among other things, GDP has been adjusted upwards as a result of the revision. The revision has not been extended to the years before 1995. In the indicator 'Total government expenditure as % of GDP', a break occurs between 1994 and 1995 as a result of the revision.

Data available from: 1900

Status of the figures:
Data recorded in the last available year are provisional figures.

Changes on 28 December 2021:
The provisional figures for 2020 have been added.
The figures for 2019 have been adjusted from provisional to definite.

When will new figures be published?
New figures are published in December of 2022.

Description topics

Government expenditure on education
Government expenditure on education institutions and government expenditure with regard to education on households, companies and non-profit organisations.
Both central and local government spend on education institutions: lump sum financing, expenditure on contract research and operating costs.
Students with a disability receive government allowances for provisions that enable them to participate in regular education. The government also provides child care allowances to households and subsidies to preschools and day care institutions. Part of it is related to the educational component of the activities of three-year-olds in preschool and day care and is counted as expenditure on education. The government also gives subsidies and tax benefits to companies. These are subsidies for providing transport for pupils and subsidies and tax benefits that partly compensate companies for the costs of supervising trainees and apprentices at various levels (vmbo, mbo and hbo) that combine learning with work experience. The transport for pupils is intended for pupils in primary or secondary education (including special needs education) who cannot travel independently because of a disability or the distance between home and school.
Government’s allowances for school costs and student grants and loans are not included here.
Secondary education
Secondary general education, senior secondary vocational education (mbo), adult education and private education at these levels for students of about 12 years and older.
Secondary general education
Secondary general education is a collective term for the first year of secondary education, preparatory secondary vocational education (vmbo), senior general secondary education (havo), pre-university education (vwo), extra learning support in preparatory secondary vocational education (lwoo) and special needs education for students of 12 years and older, requiring a special approach because of physical or mental disabilities, chronic illness or serious behavioural or learning difficulties.
Student grants, loans and allowance
Consists of the allowances for school costs and student grants and loans.
The allowance for school costs compensate entirely or in part for the costs of education. These contributions are primarily for (parents of) students older than 18 in secondary or students younger than 18 in senior secondary vocational education or basic secondary education for adults. This allowance does not have to be repaid to the government.
Student grants and loans are meant to compensate students of 18 years and over in the school-based track of senior secondary vocational education (mbo-bol) and students in higher education for the costs of education. Student grants can either be distributed as a gift or a loan.
Secondary education
Secondary general education, senior secondary vocational education (mbo), adult education and private education at these levels for students of about 12 years and older.
Secondary general education
Secondary general education is a collective term for the first year of secondary general education, preparatory secondary vocational education (vmbo), senior general secondary education (havo), pre-university education (vwo), extra learning support in preparatory secondary vocational education (lwoo) and special needs education for students of 12 years and older, requiring a special approach because of physical or mental disabilities, chronic illness or serious behavioural or learning difficulties.