The suicide rate has grown dramatically over the past five years, in particular among people with a western background and native Dutch. The suicide rate remained stable at a low level among people with a non-western background. Suicide is rare among people with a Turkish or Moroccan background.
Suicide rate 30 percent up since 2008
The number of suicides is growing. In 2008, a total of 1,353 people committed suicide in the Netherlands versus 1,753 in 2012, i.e. an increase by 30 percent. The relative increase in suicide mortality is also obvious. More than two thirds of suicide deaths are men.
The increase was most notable among people with a western background and, to a lesser extent, among native Dutch. The suicide rate among people with a non-western background remained stable.
Suicide mortality by ethnic background, 2003-2012 (moving average)
Vast differences by ethnic background
The suicide rate among people with a western background has been 8 percent higher over the past decade than among native Dutch. This is predominantly due to higher suicide rates among men with a Belgian background and women with a German background. The relatively high figures mirror the higher suicide rates in Belgium and Germany.
The suicide rate among people with a non-western background is lower than among native Dutch. The rate among non-western men is 20 percent lower than among their native Dutch counterparts and with 30 percent, the gap between non-western women and native Dutch women is even wider.
Within the category non-western men and women, there are considerable differences by country of origin. Suicide is relatively rare among people with a Turkish or Moroccan background. The figures for men with a Surinamese background, on the other hand, are higher than for native Dutch men.
Suicide mortality, 2003-2012
Fewer suicides among middle-aged Turks and Moroccans
The low number of suicides among people with a Turkish or Moroccan background is very obvious among 45 to 65-year-olds. The suicide rate among Turkish and Moroccan people in that age category living in the Netherlands is more than three times as low as among native Dutch. The relatively high suicide rate among people of Belgian or German descent is most distinct among persons under the age of 45.
Suicide mortality by ethnic background and age, 2003-2012
Jan Hoogenboezem, Joop Garssen and Lenny Stoeldraijer