Costs of social security amount to 179 billion euro in 2010

In the Netherlands, 179 billion euro ((30 percent of the total amount earned by all Dutch together) was spent on social security last year. Unemployment benefits rose most rapidly by 12 percent compared to 2009. Spending on social security is high in the Netherlands relative to other European countries.

Spending on social security

Spending on social security

70 percent to older and ill people

Social security covers all benefits that aim to alleviate the burden for households and individuals. The total amount involved in social security increased by nearly 5 percent to 179 billion euro last year. The bulk, 70 percent, was spent on old age provisions and illness/health care. The ageing population is the main reason for the substantial increase in costs in recent years.

Expenditure on old age provisions, such as the General Old Age Pension Act and supplementary pensions rose by more than 5 percent last year to 62.8 billion euro. Approximately the same amount, 62.7 billion euro, was spent on illness/health care, an increase by 6 percent from 2009.

Unemployment benefits rose most rapidly

As more people lost their jobs last year, expenditure on unemployment benefits increased most (by 12 percent). Since the outbreak of the financial crisis towards the end of 2008, the total amount paid in unemployment benefits has grown by 50 percent from 6 billion euro in 2008 to more than 9 billion euro in 2010.

Spending on social security in Europe, 2008

Spending on social security in Europe, 2008

Netherlands in European top 5

The Netherlands spent 30 percent of the national income on social security last year. The most recent European figures over 2008 show that only France, Sweden and Denmark spent a larger part of their national income on social security. Romania and Latvia were at the bottom end of the European list. They spent less than 15 percent of their national incomes on social security.

Annemieke Redeman