Economic growth of 3.1 percent in Q2 2021

More recent figures are available on this topic. View the latest figures here.
© Hollandse Hoogte / Peter Hilz
According to the first estimate conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.1 percent in Q2 2021 relative to the previous quarter. This economic growth was mainly due to increased household consumption and a higher trade balance. Public consumption also increased, but investments decreased.

Households spent 5.7 percent more in Q2 than in Q1 2021. Public consumption grew as well, by 2.6 percent. Exports and imports of goods and services increased by 4.0 and 2.6 percent, respectively. Investments were down by 1.8 percent.

In particular, the sector trade, transportation and accommodation and food services, the sector government, education and care and the manufacturing sector made positive contributions to the quarter-on-quarter economic growth.

Impact of the coronavirus crisis on the first estimate

Due to the coronavirus crisis, the growth figures are surrounded by greater uncertainty than usual during a first estimate.

GDP (volume), seasonally adjusted
YearQuarterIndex (2015=100)
2014Quarter 197.3
2014Quarter 297.9
2014Quarter 398.1
2014Quarter 499
2015Quarter 199.6
2015Quarter 299.9
2015Quarter 3100.2
2015Quarter 4100.3
2016Quarter 1101.2
2016Quarter 2101.4
2016Quarter 3102.6
2016Quarter 4103.4
2017Quarter 1103.9
2017Quarter 2104.9
2017Quarter 3105.6
2017Quarter 4106.5
2018Quarter 1106.9
2018Quarter 2107.5
2018Quarter 3107.9
2018Quarter 4108.4
2019Quarter 1109
2019Quarter 2109.5
2019Quarter 3109.9
2019Quarter 4110.4
2020Quarter 1108.6
2020Quarter 299.5
2020Quarter 3107
2020Quarter 4107
2021Quarter 1106.2
2021Quarter 2109.5

The rest of this news release deals with economic development compared to Q2 2020.

GDP 9.7 percent up on Q2 2020

According to the first estimate, GDP was up by 9.7 percent relative to Q2 2020. This is the largest year-on-year growth ever. Household consumption and the trade balance were higher in particular. Investments and public consumption also made a positive contribution to growth.

The exceptionally high growth in the second quarter of 2021 is also mainly the result of a severe lockdown in the second quarter of last year, when GDP contracted sharply. The economy bounced back in the following period, but the contraction of that time has not yet been fully compensated. Compared to two years ago, the size of the economy in the second quarter of 2021 was still 0.4 percent smaller. Only public consumption and exports were higher in Q2 2021 than in Q2 2019.

GDP (volume)
2014Quarter 11.3
2014Quarter 21.4
2014Quarter 31.1
2014Quarter 41.8
2015Quarter 11.9
2015Quarter 22.1
2015Quarter 32.5
2015Quarter 41.4
2016Quarter 12.1
2016Quarter 22.3
2016Quarter 32.1
2016Quarter 42.2
2017Quarter 13.2
2017Quarter 23.0
2017Quarter 32.8
2017Quarter 42.6
2018Quarter 12.6
2018Quarter 22.7
2018Quarter 32.2
2018Quarter 41.9
2019Quarter 11.9
2019Quarter 22.0
2019Quarter 32.1
2019Quarter 41.9
2020Quarter 1-0.2
2020Quarter 2-9.2
2020Quarter 3-2.6
2020Quarter 4-2.9
2021Quarter 1-2.4
2021Quarter 29.7

More consumer and public consumption

In Q2 2021, consumers spent 9.3 percent more than in Q2 2020. This is mainly due to the (gradual) opening of shops and accommodation and food services. Consumers spent mainly more on accommodation and food services, medical services, clothing and passenger cars. However, household consumption has not yet returned to pre-coronavirus levels. Compared to the second quarter of 2019, household consumption was almost 5 percent lower.

Public consumption grew by 7.4 percent. Compared to Q2 2020, there was substantially less cancellation of care in the second quarter of 2021. Furthermore, public spending in the areas of health, education and social security grew strongly due to additional spending on testing and vaccinations.

More investments in dwellings, passenger cars and machinery

In Q2 2021, the volume of investments in fixed assets was 9.5 percent up on the same quarter last year. Investments were mainly up in dwellings, buildings, passenger cars, lorries, machinery and installations. Investments are also not yet back at pre-coronavirus levels and were around 1 percent lower compared to the second quarter of 2019.

More machinery, transport equipment and chemical products exported

Exports of goods and services in Q2 2021 were 14 percent up year-on-year. Exports of goods grew strongly. In particular, more machinery, chemical products and transport equipment were exported. Exports of Dutch manufactured goods were 16 percent higher, while re-exports (the export of previously imported products) grew by 21.1 percent. Exports of services were slightly higher than in the second quarter of 2020.

Imports of goods and services were 10.7 percent higher. Exports grew faster than imports, so the trade balance made a positive contribution to economic growth.

Expenditure (volume), Q2 2021
CategoryCompared to Q2 2020 (% change)Compared to Q2 2019 (% change)
Bruto binnenlands product9.7-0.4
Invoer goederen en diensten10.7-1.8
Uitvoer goederen en diensten140.8
Investeringen in vaste activa9.5-1.1
Consumptie huishoudens9.3-4.7
Consumptie overheid7.44.3

Growth in almost all sectors

The value added (i.e. output minus consumption of energy, materials and services) in trade, transportation and accommodation and food services was 15.6 percent higher in Q2 2021 than twelve months previously. The transportation sector and particularly the accommodation and food services sector rebounded strongly, but are still far from their pre-coronavirus level. In contrast, trade and repair grew not only compared to Q2 2020, but also compared to two years previously.

The manufacturing industry grew by more than 14 percent. The machinery, metal, food and transport equipment industries contributed to this in particular. The construction sector was up by 5 percent.

The value added in the care sector was 25.4 percent higher than in Q2 2020. At that time there was a significant loss of care. This was much less severe in the spring of 2021, and the vaccination campaign was running at full speed.

The sector culture, recreation, sports and other services, achieved 11.1 percent more output in Q2 2021 than twelve months previously. Sports and recreation grew again, but the arts and culture sector still struggled with coronavirus restrictions and shrank again. For this sector too, pre-coronavirus levels are still a long way off.

The business services sector grew by 10.6 percent. Specialised business services (including research and consulting firms), temporary employment, travel and other business services (including security, cleaning and landscaping) contributed to this. The value added of the travel sector grew by hundreds of percent, but is still very far from the level it was before the coronavirus crisis. Business services as a whole also had less output than two years previously.

First estimate

The first estimate is published 45 days after the end of a quarter and is conducted based on information available at that moment. It provides an initial picture of the state of the Dutch economy. After the first estimate, new data continue to pour in which are used to make new calculations. The second estimate on economic growth will be released on Thursday 23 September. In absolute terms, the adjustment of the second estimate relative to the first estimate has averaged nearly 0.04 percentage points over the past five years, with the two extremes ranging between
-0.2 and 0.1 percentage points.

With each new estimate, CBS also determines the new seasonally adjusted figures on previously published quarters. This recalculation has not resulted in an adjustment of figures over the previous three quarters.