5% of workers in Zuid-Limburg commute across the border

Of all regions in the Netherlands, Zuid-Limburg has the highest percentage of employees living in Germany or Belgium. In 2016, this was more than 5 percent. Zeeuws-Vlaanderen has a relatively high share of border commuters as well, namely 4 percent. This is evident from new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the statistical offices of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Belgium.

The number of employees commuting from Belgium and Germany to the Netherlands in 2016 was considerably higher than the number going in the opposite direction. There were 36.8 thousand employees who travelled to work across the border from Germany to the Netherlands; from Belgium, there were 38.4 thousand. Conversely, nearly 10 thousand workers commuted from the Netherlands to Lower Saxony or North Rhine-Westphalia and 11 thousand to Flanders. There are hardly any employees from the Netherlands in Wallonia.

Noord-Limburg has largest share of employees from Germany

Over 3 percent of the employees in Noord-Limburg were coming from Germany, while the shares in the regions of Twente, Achterhoek, Arnhem/Nijmegen, Midden-Limburg and Zuid-Limburg varied between 1 and 2 percent in 2016. The shares are lower in regions on the other side of the border.

Border commuters in German border regions, 2016 0.1–0.5% (employees) Delfzijl e.o. Oost- Groningen Zuidoost- Drenthe Noord-Overijssel Twente Achterhoek Arnhem/ Nijmegen Noord- Limburg Midden Limburg Zuid- Limburg 0.5–1.0% (employees) 1.0–3.0% (employees) ≥ 3.0% (employees) data not available Aurich Leer Emsland Grafschaft Bentheim Steinfurt Borken Wesel Viersen Heinsberg Düren Städteregion Aachen Mönchengladbach Krefeld Emden Kleve

Many inbound commuters of Dutch nationality

By combining Dutch and German data, it is possible to determine the border commuters’ nationality. In the regions of Zuidoost-Drenthe, Twente and Achterhoek on the eastern border, the majority of inbound commuters are of Dutch nationality. In Noord-Limburg, Zuid-Limburg and Arnhem/Nijmegen, most employees crossing the border are German nationals. These are the ‘traditional border commuters’.

In a few regions, part of the inbound commuters have a nationality other than that of the country they live or work in. A substantial part of the workers commuting from Germany are Polish, which is also the case in the Achterhoek region.

Employees living in Germany by nationality, 20161
 Dutch (% of employees)German (% of employees)Polish (% of employees)Other (% of employees)
1in regions with at least 1 percent of employees from neighbouring countries

Zeeuws-Vlaanderen has highest share of employees from Belgium

In 2016, 4 percent of the people working in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen were living in Belgium. Other regions with a relatively high share of employees from Belgium are Zuid-Limburg (3.5 percent), Midden-Limburg and the border regions of Noord-Brabant (1 to 2 percent).