Nearly half of Dutch population included in Donor Register

© Hollandse Hoogte / Frank Muller / Zorginbeeld
On 2 January 2020, 49 percent of the Dutch population aged 18 years and over were included in the Donor Register. This is a total of 6.9 million persons, 556 thousand more than on 2 January 2019. The increase in the number of people giving either general or specific consent for organ donation was larger than in previous years. The number of persons explicitly withholding consent rose on previous years as well. This is evident from figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the Donor Register.

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On 1 July 2020, a new Organ Donation Act will take effect. This act stipulates that all inhabitants of the Netherlands aged 18 and over shall be included in the Donor Register with a record stating ‘no objection against organ donation’ unless they have registered a different preference. At the beginning of this year, 51 percent of Dutch people aged 18 years and over had not yet recorded their decision in the Donor Register.

Population included in the Donor Register
JaarIncluded (x million aged 18 yrs and over)
20145.8
20155.8
20165.9
20176.0
20186.3
20196.4
20206.9

General or specific consent

On 2 January 2020, the Register included over 6.91 million persons over the age of 18, up from nearly 6.36 million one year previously (2 January 2019). The number of adults giving their (general or specific) consent is growing each year. The increase is larger in 2020 compared to the preceding years. At the beginning of this year, there were 130 thousand more registered consents than at the beginning of 2019. The number of refusals has been rising since 2016, from nearly 1.6 million then to 1.9 million in 2019 and 2.3 million in 2020.

At the start of 2020, 55 percent of those registered indicated they wished to be donors; a share of 34 percent denied consent, while the remaining 11 percent left the decision to surviving relatives or a designated person.

Preferences of those included in the Donor Register
JaarDeny consent (%)Designated person decides (%)Surviving relatives decide (%)Specific consent (%)General consent (%)
202033.51.59.812.243.0
201930.61.69.812.345.8
201830.11.69.812.346.2
201728.21.710.112.447.7
201626.61.710.312.548.9
201527.11.810.412.148.6
201427.51.810.411.948.4

Anyone who has been registered may amend or remove their own preferences in the Donor Register at any time. At the beginning of this year, 38 thousand people had changed their preference from ‘consent’ to ‘no consent’, while 20 thousand persons had reversed their decision and changed from ‘no consent’ to ‘consent’. The majority among those who had changed their preference were 50 to 69 years old.

Mainly 18 and 19-year-olds not yet registered

As of the beginning of this year, almost three-quarters of those aged 18 and 19 had not yet registered their decision. This was also the case for more than half of all 20 to 29-year-olds and over-80s. The share of people in the age group 20 to 69 years giving general or specific consent was almost twice as large as the share giving no consent. Among both 18/19-year-olds and the over-70s, with and without consent was split almost equally.

Donor Register, 2020
leeftijdNo consent (%)Relative or designated person decides (%)General or specific consent (%)Not registered (%)
Total1662751
18 to 19 yrs1031374
20 to 29 yrs1342559
30 to 39 yrs1662851
40 to 49 yrs1573048
50 to 59 yrs1673147
60 to 69 yrs1973044
70 to 79 yrs2052551
80 yrs and over2341955

The Donor Register included relatively more women than men (53 versus 45 percent). Women were also more likely to give their consent for organ donation.

People with a non-western migration background were relatively more often not included in the Donor Register (72 percent) than people with a western migration background (64 percent) or native Dutch people (45 percent). More than three-quarters of first-generation migrants (77 percent) were not included in the Donor Register, against over half of second-generation migrants (54 percent).

People with a non-western migration background were less likely to give consent for organ donation (5 percent) than people with a western migration background (18 percent) or native Dutch people (32 percent).

Regional differences

In 15 municipalities, over 55 percent of the population aged 18 years and over had not yet registered. The top three consisted of Urk (67 percent), Staphorst (65 percent) and Vaals (62 percent).

The municipalities with the highest shares of registered donors (giving general or specific consent) were Goirle and Oost Gelre (37 percent each) and Eersel, Sint-Michielsgestel, Hilvarenbeek, Uitgeest (36 percent).

Population share not included in the Donor Register, 20201)
GemeentenaamNot included in Register (%)
Aa en Hunze46
Aalsmeer52
Aalten47
Achtkarspelen56
Alblasserdam53
Albrandswaard52
Alkmaar47
Almelo53
Almere54
Alphen aan den Rijn48
Alphen-Chaam46
Altena51
Ameland56
Amersfoort46
Amstelveen57
Amsterdam60
Apeldoorn50
Appingedam50
Arnhem51
Assen48
Asten46
Baarle-Nassau49
Baarn48
Barendrecht51
Barneveld55
Beek (L.)46
Beekdaelen47
Beemster49
Beesel46
Berg en Dal47
Bergeijk47
Bergen (L.)48
Bergen (NH.)49
Bergen op Zoom48
Berkelland47
Bernheze47
Best44
Beuningen46
Beverwijk53
Bladel45
Blaricum49
Bloemendaal48
Bodegraven-Reeuwijk50
Boekel49
Borger-Odoorn49
Borne46
Borsele50
Boxmeer45
Boxtel46
Breda47
Brielle49
Bronckhorst49
Brummen50
Brunssum48
Bunnik45
Bunschoten54
Buren50
Capelle aan den IJssel55
Castricum45
Coevorden50
Cranendonck49
Cuijk47
Culemborg48
Dalfsen52
Dantumadiel57
De Bilt46
De Fryske Marren50
De Ronde Venen49
De Wolden50
Delft54
Delfzijl53
Den Helder49
Deurne47
Deventer48
Diemen60
Dinkelland53
Doesburg50
Doetinchem48
Dongen44
Dordrecht52
Drechterland47
Drimmelen47
Dronten49
Druten48
Duiven46
Echt-Susteren50
Edam-Volendam51
Ede51
Eemnes48
Eersel44
Eijsden-Margraten47
Eindhoven53
Elburg54
Emmen51
Enkhuizen47
Enschede52
Epe51
Ermelo51
Etten-Leur46
Geertruidenberg45
Geldrop-Mierlo44
Gemert-Bakel47
Gennep48
Gilze en Rijen45
Goeree-Overflakkee51
Goes47
Goirle42
Gooise Meren48
Gorinchem46
Gouda49
Grave46
Groningen (gemeente)52
Gulpen-Wittem49
Haaksbergen49
Haaren45
Haarlem50
Haarlemmermeer52
Halderberge48
Hardenberg53
Harderwijk50
Hardinxveld-Giessendam53
Harlingen51
Hattem50
Heemskerk50
Heemstede47
Heerde53
Heerenveen50
Heerhugowaard46
Heerlen51
Heeze-Leende44
Heiloo45
Hellendoorn47
Hellevoetsluis48
Helmond49
Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht49
Hengelo (O.)49
Het Hogeland50
Heumen45
Heusden46
Hillegom48
Hilvarenbeek45
Hilversum50
Hoeksche Waard49
Hof van Twente51
Hollands Kroon49
Hoogeveen52
Hoorn48
Horst aan de Maas44
Houten45
Huizen48
Hulst52
IJsselstein47
Kaag en Braassem48
Kampen53
Kapelle48
Katwijk55
Kerkrade52
Koggenland46
Krimpen aan den IJssel53
Krimpenerwaard51
Laarbeek45
Landerd46
Landgraaf49
Landsmeer51
Langedijk44
Lansingerland49
Laren (NH.)52
Leeuwarden51
Leiden51
Leiderdorp46
Leidschendam-Voorburg50
Lelystad51
Leudal48
Leusden46
Lingewaard45
Lisse47
Lochem46
Loon op Zand47
Lopik53
Loppersum50
Losser51
Maasdriel51
Maasgouw48
Maassluis51
Maastricht55
Medemblik48
Meerssen47
Meierijstad46
Meppel48
Middelburg (Z.)50
Midden-Delfland47
Midden-Drenthe51
Midden-Groningen53
Mill en Sint Hubert46
Moerdijk47
Molenlanden55
Montferland50
Montfoort48
Mook en Middelaar45
Neder-Betuwe56
Nederweert48
Nieuwegein49
Nieuwkoop49
Nijkerk50
Nijmegen47
Nissewaard51
Noardeast-Frysl?n52
Noord-Beveland49
Noordenveld48
Noordoostpolder51
Noordwijk51
Nuenen, Gerwen en Nederwetten43
Nunspeet54
Oegstgeest47
Oirschot44
Oisterwijk45
Oldambt52
Oldebroek59
Oldenzaal49
Olst-Wijhe48
Ommen53
Oost Gelre44
Oosterhout46
Ooststellingwerf51
Oostzaan50
Opmeer47
Opsterland49
Oss50
Oude IJsselstreek48
Ouder-Amstel51
Oudewater50
Overbetuwe45
Papendrecht48
Peel en Maas46
Pekela53
Pijnacker-Nootdorp49
Purmerend51
Putten53
Raalte47
Reimerswaal55
Renkum44
Renswoude55
Reusel-De Mierden46
Rheden48
Rhenen51
Ridderkerk51
Rijssen-Holten53
Rijswijk (ZH.)51
Roerdalen49
Roermond50
Roosendaal48
Rotterdam59
Rozendaal44
Rucphen50
Schagen47
Scherpenzeel52
Schiedam59
Schiermonnikoog52
Schouwen-Duiveland49
's-Gravenhage (gemeente)61
's-Hertogenbosch47
Simpelveld49
Sint Anthonis46
Sint-Michielsgestel43
Sittard-Geleen48
Sliedrecht53
Sluis52
Smallingerland50
Soest46
Someren46
Son en Breugel44
Stadskanaal54
Staphorst65
Stede Broec46
Steenbergen48
Steenwijkerland51
Stein (L.)46
Stichtse Vecht50
S?dwest-Frysl?n48
Terneuzen52
Terschelling54
Texel50
Teylingen46
Tholen51
Tiel52
Tilburg50
Tubbergen52
Twenterand55
Tynaarlo47
Tytsjerksteradiel53
Uden47
Uitgeest45
Uithoorn51
Urk67
Utrecht (gemeente)49
Utrechtse Heuvelrug47
Vaals62
Valkenburg aan de Geul49
Valkenswaard45
Veendam51
Veenendaal51
Veere50
Veldhoven45
Velsen51
Venlo49
Venray44
Vijfheerenlanden52
Vlaardingen53
Vlieland55
Vlissingen50
Voerendaal46
Voorschoten48
Voorst49
Vught45
Waadhoeke49
Waalre44
Waalwijk51
Waddinxveen50
Wageningen49
Wassenaar54
Waterland50
Weert49
Weesp49
West Betuwe51
West Maas en Waal47
Westerkwartier51
Westerveld50
Westervoort46
Westerwolde54
Westland51
Weststellingwerf50
Westvoorne50
Wierden53
Wijchen45
Wijdemeren49
Wijk bij Duurstede46
Winterswijk49
Woensdrecht50
Woerden48
Wormerland48
Woudenberg51
Zaanstad53
Zaltbommel52
Zandvoort54
Zeewolde48
Zeist47
Zevenaar47
Zoetermeer49
Zoeterwoude49
Zuidplas51
Zundert50
Zutphen46
Zwartewaterland57
Zwijndrecht50
Zwolle46
1)Data based on the 2019 municipal classification.