Registered partnership gaining popularity

In 2016, slightly more marriages were contracted in the Netherlands than in the previous year. Civil partnership registrations have seen a sharper increase in popularity over the past few years, according to the latest figures published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

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The number of marriages has declined over the longer term. It has stayed around 65 thousand in recent years. Altogether 65.2 thousand couples got married last year, i.e. one percent up on the 2015. Registered partnership is on the rise with 15.7 thousand registrations last year, nearly one-quarter more than in 2015. From a legal point of view, a civil partnership is virtually equal to marriage; as of 2014, the male partner in a partnership is automatically granted paternity.
Marriages and registered partnerships

Almost 1 in 5 are registered partnerships

Nearly 81 thousand couples established an official relationship in 2016. Of these couples, 19 percent opted for a registered partnership. Ten years previously, this share was only 9 percent.
Not every country recognises registered parternships. This could explain why people with a migration background are less likely to choose partnership over marriage. This applies especially to couples with a Turkish or Moroccan background: less than 2 percent of those who entered into an official relationship last year opted for registered partnership.
Same-sex couples are more likely to register a partnership than heterosexual couples. In 2016, 30 percent of same-sex unions were registered partnerships.
Partnership registrations, 2016
 Share of partnerships
Male and female19.1
of whom

Partnerships less popular in the city

In the major Dutch cities, fewer couples opt for partnership compared to the smaller municipalities. This is partly due to a higher share of residents with a migration background. In Amsterdam, for example, 21 percent of native Dutch couples registered partnership, against 14 percent of all couples. In the so-called Bible Belt (with the highest concentration of conservative Calvinist Protestants in the country) as well as in the south, the share of registered partnerships may be less than 10 percent. Partnerships are relatively more popular in the northern and eastern parts of the Netherlands.