According to figures released this week by Statistics Netherlands, 1,854 people in the Netherlands ended their own lives in 2013, 101 more than in 2012. This is the sixth year in a row that the number of suicides has increased. In spite of this, the suicide rate is considerably lower in the Netherlands than in neighbouring countries.
Number of suicides by sex
Substantial rise since 2007
The number of suicides has risen strongly in the last six years. In 2007, 1,353 people killed themselves, by 2013 the number had risen to 1,854. This is the highest number of suicides ever recorded in the Netherlands in one year. In relative terms, too, the suicide rate is rising. At 11.0 per 100 thousand of the population, it is back at the level of the early 1990s.
Suicide by age
Main increase in middle age groups
Compared with twenty years ago, more men committed suicide (70 percent of suicides, compared with 64 percent in 1990). Suicide is also concentrated in the middle age groups: 40 to 64 years. Just over half of both men and women ending their own lives were aged 40 to 64 years. In addition to the substantial increase in the suicide rate in middle age groups, the rate among 10-19 year-olds also rose slightly, from 2 per 100 thousand to 3 per 100 thousand. For other age groups death from suicide fell, by most in the group aged over 80.
Suicide rates in some European countries, 2012
Favourable position in European perspective, but unfavourable trend
Compared with 2007, the suicide rate in the Netherlands has risen by 25 percent. Only in Greece was the increase larger in this period. In Poland and the Czech Republic, death from suicide is also rising considerably, while in Switzerland and Luxembourg it is significantly lower than in 2007.
In spite of a substantial increase in the number of suicides in recent years, the suicide rate in the Netherlands is relatively low. In 2012, an average 12 per 100 thousand inhabitants of OECD countries ended their lives. In the Netherlands this was 10 per 100 thousand inhabitants. In countries neighbouring the Netherlands the suicide rate is higher, except in the United Kingdom. The map of Europe shows that suicide rates are relatively low in south European countries, but relatively high in northern and central Europe.