More suicides

Last year, 1,871 people in the Netherlands committed suicide, the highest number ever, but Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that suicide rates were higher in the period covering the latter half of the 1970s up to the end of the 80s.

In recent years, the number of completed suicides has risen from 1,353 in 2007 to 1,871 in 2015. On average, five people commit suicide every day. If population growth is taken into consideration, the suicide rate is also increasing. With 11.0 in every 100 thousand residents, the rate is currently back at the level of the early 1990s. The highest suicide rate was recorded in the early 1980s (14.4 per 100 thousand population in 1984).

Suicides
Suicides
 Relative (left-hand scale)Absolute (right-hand scale)
1970111049
197111.21090
1972111094
197311.21164
197411.91247
197511.31219
197611.91300
197711.51274
197811.81346
197912.91465
198012.21430
1981121431
198212.81535
198314.21720
198414.31782
198512.71638
198612.41604
198712.31616
198811.41523
198911.21520
199010.41450
199111.51611
199211.21587
199310.71555
199410.81584
199510.21511
199610.61577
199710.41570
1998101519
1999101517
20009.81500
20019.41473
20029.91567
20039.61500
20049.51514
20059.81572
20069.51524
20078.31353
20088.81435
20099.21525
20109.71600
20119.91647
201210.51753
201311.11857
201410.91839
201511.11871

Noticeable increase suicides 20 to 29-year-old men and over-60s

The number of male suicides increased by 30 in 2015 compared to 2014, whereas the number of female suicides hardly changed. Suicides rose rapidly among men in their twenties (from 104 to 133) and older than 60 (from 324 to 396). In other age groups, the number of suicides either declined or remained almost unchanged.

Suicide by age
Suicide by age
 20152014
10 to 19 yrs2.42.7
20 to 29 yrs8.77.4
30 to 39 yrs1111.2
40 to 49 yrs14.816
50 to 59 yrs19.120.9
60 to 69 yrs1512.4
70 to 79 yrs13.212.7
80 yrs or older14.712.7

Suicide more common in widowers and divorced men

Suicide is more common in men than women. The figures for last year were 1,280 men and 591 women. The highest suicide rate was recorded among divorced men and widowers: 45 per 100 thousand. The rate is about four times higher than for married men and men who have never been married. The suicide rate for divorced women is also higher, but the gap is not as wide as for men.

Suicide by marital status, 2015
Suicide by marital status, 2015
 MenWomen
Divorced46.318.6
Widowed45.411
Never
married
135.6
Married11.45

Suicide major cause of death in age group 20-39

Mortality in the 20-39 age category is relatively low with suicide accounting for nearly one-quarter of deaths (408 in 1,702). In this age group more people die from suicide than from cancer (378), cardiovascular diseases (146) or traffic accidents (124). In 40 to 59-year-olds, suicide was the most common cause of death after cancer and cardiovascular diseases. From the age of 60 onwards, the percentage of people who commit suicide is declining.

As mortality is much higher in over-60s than in young people, the percentage of suicide deaths in this age category is very low (less than 0.5 percent). But of all people who deliberately killed themselves in 2015, more than 30 percent were over the age of 60.

Dutch suicide rate relatively low

Suicide is a relatively rare phenomenon in the Netherlands compared to other European countries. The most recent figures show that Russia has the highest suicide rate (21 per 100 thousand), followed by Hungary and Slovenia. The rate is also fairly high in Belgium and France.

Suicide in various European countries, 2013
Suicide in various European countries, 2013
 Series 0
Russia ("11)21
Hungary19.4
Slovenia ("10)18.6
Belgium ("12)17.4
Estonia ("12)16.6
France ("11)15.8
Finland15.8
Poland15.3
Czech Republic14.2
Austria13.6
Sweden12.3
Switzerland ("12)12
Denmark ("12)11.3
Slovakia ("10)11.3
Ireland ("10)11
Germany10.8
Norway10.8
Netherlands10.5
Luxembourg ("12)9.4
Portugal8.7
United Kingdom7.6
Spain7.5
Italy ("12)6.3
Greece ("12)4.2