In the first three quarters of 2008, the number of orders for debt repayment pronounced by Dutch courts was nearly 40 percent down on the same period one year previously. The most substantial decline was recorded among 18 to 24-year-olds.
Orders for debt repayment pronounced by Dutch courts per quarter
Robust decline since amendment to the law was introduced
In the first three quarters of this year, 7.1 thousand orders for debt repayment were pronounced by Dutch courts, i.e. 37 percent down on the same period in 2007. The number of court orders for debts repayment has dropped considerably since the first quarter of 2008, compared to last year. Since then, the rate of decline has increased. An amendment to the Act on Debt Restructuring Natural Persons (WSNP), to the effect that more rigid criteria had to be met to be admitted to a debt restructuring programme partly accounts for the decrease.
Reduction by half in provinces of Utrecht and Groningen
The amount of restructured debts in the first nine months of 2008 fell in nearly all provinces relative to one year previously. The decline was most evident in the provinces of Utrecht (52 percent) and Groningen (50 percent).
A modest increase was recorded in Limburg, Friesland and Flevoland. Possibly, courts in these provinces are behind in dealing with requests for debt restructuring. It is also possible that agencies providing debt relief schemes are more active in these provinces than elsewhere.
Number of court orders for debt repayment relatively high in the province of Flevoland
Proportionally, the number of court orders for debt repayment is also extremely high in Flevoland. Nearly 150 persons per 100 thousand inhabitants of Flevoland participated in a debt restructuring scheme in the first nine months of this year, nearly 3.5 times as many as the nationwide ratio of 43 per 100 thousand inhabitants and much higher than in all other provinces too.
Orders for debt repayment pronounced by Dutch courts per 100 thousand residents by province, 2008 quarters I-III
Sharpest decline among young people
The amount of court orders for debt repayment concluded by Dutch courts dropped most significantly among 18 to 24-year-olds. In the period January–September, 265 persons in this age category had their debts restructured, nearly half as many as in the same period in 2007. The downward trend set in in 2005, much earlier than in other age categories.
Orders for debt repayment concluded by Dutch courts by age category, quarters I-III
Wim Vissers and Vinodh Lalta