Population growth concentrates in 30 largest municipalities

In 2013, the population in the Netherlands grew by 50 thousand. The bulk of the population growth (47 thousand) was recorded in the thirty largest Dutch municipalities. The population continues to grow in the four major cities, i.e. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Altogether, the population in the four major cities grew by 23 thousand.

Growing urbanisation

Since 2009, the population growth has predominantly occurred in the large municipalities. Between 2009 and 2014, the population in the Netherlands grew by 344 thousand.  Nearly three-quarters of the population growth was concentrated in the thirty municipalities with a population of 100 thousand or more on 1 January 2014. This is an indication that the urbanisation process is continuing. The population in the thirty largest municipalities totalled 6.0 million on 1 January 2014, versus 5.7 million half a decade ago. 

The high birth rate is the main reason for population growth in large municipalities. Outside the large municipalities, the birth rate declined. On balance, an average of 10 thousand residents annually moved from smaller to the larger municipalities. Foreign migration accounted for more than half of the population growth in large cities.

Annual population growth

Annual population growth

Population growth mainly occurs in four major cities

Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht largely accounted for the population growth. Since 2009, the four major cities have accounted for 37 percent of total population growth in the Netherlands, versus only 21 percent in the period 2004-2009. Since 2009, the urbanisation process in the Netherlands has become especially manifest in the four major cities.

New landmarks

As the population growth is concentrated in the large municipalities, the number of residents in the cities is growing rapidly. In the municipality of Utrecht, the 300 thousand barrier was broken in 2009; the Rotterdam population exceeded 600 thousand in 2010. The Hague crossed the 500 thousand barrier in 2011 and the Amsterdam population grew beyond 800 thousand in 2013. There are five new municipalities with a population exceeding 100 thousand in 2014 compared to 2009, i.e. Alphen aan den Rijn, Delft, Leeuwarden, Venlo and Westland. 

Distribution annual population growth

Distribution annual population growth

Jan Latten and Lenny Stoeldraijer