According to figures published by Statistics Netherlands this week, the number of registered businesses in the Netherlands increased by just over 65 thousand in 2014. In the first quarter of 2015 it rose by nearly 12 thousand. This means there are now a record number of nearly 1.5 million companies in the Netherlands. The main cause of the increase is a rise in the number of one-man businesses, a trend that has been visible for some time now. Since 2010 the number of small enterprises (1 to 49 employed persons) has risen strongly, while the number of medium-sized (50 to 249 employed persons) and large companies (more than 250 employed persons) has decreased.
Fewer large companies, more smaller businesses
The number of small businesses – and particularly one-man businesses – accounts for most of the increase in the number of companies in the period 2010-2015. More than 225 thousand of these enterprises, in most of which only the owner works, have started business since 2010. Mainly as a result of this development, the number of businesses with only one employed person rose by 30 percent, to just over 1.1 million. The number of businesses with 2 to 9 employed persons remained almost constant in this period; the group with 10 to 49 workers decreased slightly.
The numbers of both medium-sized and large companies decreased by around 5 percent, i.e. 750 fewer companies out of a total of nearly 14 thousand.
More companies in business services, health care and education
There has been a substantial rise in the number of companies in the business services, health care, and education sectors in the last five years. In business services a large number of one-man consultancies have registered. This group has been rising for a number of years now: from fewer than 40 thousand in 2010, to over 55 thousand at the beginning of 2015. In health care, the increase was concentrated in paramedical practices (plus 23 thousand) and home care (plus 7 thousand). In education the growth was driven by enterprises providing sports education and tutoring.
The number of companies in agriculture and property rental decreased slightly.
More online shops
The number of online shops rose by more than 5 thousand in 2014, to nearly 30 thousand. Since 2010 the number of web shops has risen by nearly 17 thousand. As a result of strong competition and low costs for entering and leaving, this is a very dynamic market: three out of every ten online stores active at the end of 2014 had started in that year. More than 4 thousand had stopped business activities; on average, these businesses had been operational for just under two years.
More small-scale home care and childcare businesses
The number of small businesses in the home care and childcare sectors has increased since 2010. In childcare, there are fewer companies with 50 or more workers: demand for childcare has slipped as a result of reductions in childcare subsidies – especially since 2011. In the home caresector, the number of companies with more than 250 workers has decreased, while the number with one worker has more than doubled.