Dutch have average Internet skills

The Dutch are using the Internet for an increasing number of activities. Young people in particular are very active. Compared with other countries in Europe, there are not many highly skilled Internet users in the Netherlands.

Internet used mostly for searching and e-mail

Eleven million people in the Netherlands use the Internet. Nearly all of them used a search engine to find information (95 percent) or send e-mail with attachments (86 percent) in 2007.  Fewer people visited chatrooms and news groups, used Internet telephone facilities or shared music and film folders (30 percent). Two out of every ten Dutch Internet users design their own webpages.

Internet activities, 2007

Internet activities, 2007

Older people less skilled

Older Internet users - aged 65 to 75 years - undertake fewer activities on the Internet than young people - aged 12 to 25 years. In 2007 older people used the Internet nearly only to look for information or for e-mail. Younger people go on-line to visit chat sites (54 percent), for use Internet phone provisions (50 percent) or to share music and films (57 percent).

Netherlands average for high Internet skills

In 2007 one in seven Internet users in the Netherlands was highly skilled in Internet use. Although the share of Internet users with high skills has doubled in the last two years, it is only slightly higher than the average for the EU. The Netherlands does lead the field in Europe in terms of provisions for using the Internet.

In neighbouring Germany and Belgium the development of Internet skills cannot keep up with the increasing availability of IT provisions either. In Estonia and Finland on the other hand, more than one in three Internet users has high skills.

Internet users with high skills in the European Union, 2007

Internet users with high skills in the European Union, 2007

Skills self taught

More than 80 percent of Internet users develop their skills by using the Internet. In addition, two out of three users ask relatives, friends or colleagues for help. Low skilled Internet users in particular report doing a course to develop Internet skills. 

Marjolein Korvorst and Ger Linden