1,894 suicides in 2016

The number of suicide deaths has been on the rise in recent years, but related to population size and composition has remained at the same level since 2013, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports based on newly released figures.

Standardised suicide rate in the Netherlands
 Relative (left-hand axis)Absolute (right-hand axis)
197011.11049
197111.31090
197211.11094
197311.31164
1974121247
197511.41219
1976121300
197711.51274
197811.91346
1979131465
198012.21430
198112.11431
198212.91535
198314.31720
198414.41782
198512.81638
198612.51604
198712.31616
198811.51523
198911.31520
199010.51450
199111.51611
199211.21587
199310.81555
199410.81584
199510.21511
199610.61577
199710.51570
199810.11519
1999101517
20009.91500
20019.41473
20029.91567
20039.61500
20049.51514
20059.81572
20069.51524
20078.31353
20088.81435
20099.31525
20109.71600
20119.91647
201210.51753
201311.11854
201410.91839
201511.11871
201611.11894

Last year 1,894 people took their own lives, i.e. 23 more than in 2015 and equal to an average 5.2 suicides on a daily basis. Taking into account population growth and ageing, the suicide rate is at the level of the early 1990s (11.1 per 100 thousand residents). In the Netherlands, twice as many men as women commit suicide; the totals for 2016 were 1,279 men and 615 women.

Suicide rate by age group
 20162015
10 to 19 yrs2.42.4
20 to 29 yrs8.28.7
30 to 39 yrs11.811
40 to 49 yrs14.214.8
50 to 59 yrs18.219.1
60 to 69 yrs16.115
70 to 79 yrs13.913.2
80 yrs or older16.414.7

Most suicides in middle age bracket, increase among over-60s

Four in every ten suicides are committed by middle-aged people. Last year, the number of suicides in this age group (40-59) declined by 5 percent relative to 2015. There were mainly more suicide deaths in the older age group (60 years and up), where the number has increased since 2012,to 647 in 2016. One-third of all suicides are committed by people aged 60 or over. Among those under the age of 20, the suicide death toll was 48 in both 2015 and 2016.

In the 10-39 age bracket, mortality is relatively low: 1.4 percent of total annual mortality. Suicide accounts for nearly one-quarter of these deaths (463 out of a total of 2,031). More 10 to 39-year-olds die from suicide than from cancer (435), fatal road accidents (168) or cardiovascular diseases (161). In the 40-59 age bracket, suicide is the most common cause of death after cancer and cardiovascular diseases. From the age of 60 onwards, more people die from natural causes and, with advancing age, death from suicide becomes rarer.

Suicide rate by province, 2016
 2016Series 1
Netherlands11.1
Groningen14.7
Friesland13.9
Limburg13.4
Noord-Brabant12.2
Gelderland11.8
Drenthe11.2
Noord-Holland11.2
Flevoland9.9
Overijssel9.8
Utrecht9.8
Zeeland9.7
Zuid-Holland9.4
The Hague10.9
Amsterdam10.7
Rotterdam10.1
Utrecht8.2

Most suicides in Groningen, fewest in Zuid-Holland

In relative terms, the province of Groningen has the highest number of suicides. The rate per 100 thousand residents was 14.7 in 2016, versus 11.1 as the nationwide average. The provinces of Friesland and Limburg also show relatively high rates. Proportionally, the province of Zuid-Holland has the lowest number of suicides.

The suicide rate in the four largest Dutch municipalities is below the national average. The municipality of Utrecht had the lowest rate among the four at 8.2 suicides per 100 thousand residents.

Lowest suicide rates in Southern Europe

The Dutch suicide rate (11.1 per 100 thousand) in 2014 was almost equal to the EU average (11.3 per 100 thousand). The most recent figures show that Lithuania has the highest rate (31.5 per 100 thousand residents), followed by Hungary and Latvia. The neighbouring countries also have higher suicide rates than the Netherlands.
Suicide rates in most countries in Southern Europe are remarkably low. Cyprus (4.5 per 100 thousand) and Greece (5 per 100 thousand) have the lowest rates, followed by Italy and the United Kingdom.

Standardised EU suicide rates, 2014
 2014
Lithuania31.5
Hungary19.4
Latvia19
Slovenia18.9
Estonia18.3
Belgium17.3
Croatia16.8
Poland15.5
Austria15.3
Finland14.6
Czech Republic14.4
France14.1
Luxembourg13.4
Switzerland12.8
Sweden12.1
Denmark11.9
Germany11.9
Romania11.4
EU11.3
Portugal11.3
Netherlands11.1
Ireland11
Slovakia10.8
Bulgaria9.9
Malta8.3
Spain8.2
United Kingdom7.1
Italy6.3
Greece5
Cyprus4.5