Government spending on education in the Netherlands accounted for about 5.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2005. This is slightly higher than the average in the European Union. Of the 25 EU countries in 2005, the Danish government has been spending most on education for years: 8.3 percent of GDP.
Government spending on education, 2005
Government spending up in EU
Compared with 2000, as a percentage of GDP government spending on education in the EU-25 was 0.5 of a percent point higher. The largest increases were in Malta and Cyprus, by 2.3 and 1.5 percent points of GDP respectively. This puts both countries above the EU average of 5.1 percent of GDP.
Spending on education in the Baltic states rose strongly in absolute terms, but – as their GDP also rose very strongly – government spending as a percentage of GDP fell by 0.6 to 0.7 of a percent point.
Education level of the population aged 25-64 years, 2007
Dutch education level higher than EU average
The education level of the Dutch population is higher than the average in the EU-25. In 2007 31 percent of 25-64 year-old people in the Netherlands had graduated from higher education, compared with nearly 25 percent on average in the EU-25. The percentage of high educated people in neighbouring countries varies from 24 percent in Germany and 27 percent in France to 32 percent in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The Scandinavian countries traditionally have a high education level; Finland topped the list in 2007 with 36 percent of the population having completed higher education. A number of countries that joined the EU in 2004 also have relatively high levels of education. In Estonia and Lithuania, 33 and 29 percent of the 25-64-year-old population have graduated from higher education.
Hugo Elbers and Robert de Vries