The figures contained in this news release concern all homicide cases which took place in the Netherlands. Victims include both residents as registered in the Key Register of Persons (BRP) at the time of death and non-residents (12 percent in 2020). The primary sources for the figures on murder and manslaughter are data from cause-of-death certification as completed by the attending physician or coroner and court files in cases of unnatural death.
Decrease in murder and manslaughter victims in line with longer trend
Last year’s lower number of murder and manslaughter victims fits in with a longer trend. In the years 2000-2004, an average of 236 people died from murder or manslaughter in the Netherlands each year. The number decreased steadily in subsequent years. Since 2015, there have been 125 victims per year on average. Last year, there were 121 victims, 14 of whom did not live in the Netherlands.
|Under 20 yrs||2019||5||5|
|Under 20 yrs||2020*||11||7|
|20 to 39 yrs||2019||40||14|
|20 to 39 yrs||2020*||30||19|
|40 to 59 yrs||2019||25||16|
|40 to 59 yrs||2020*||25||11|
|60 yrs and over||2019||11||9|
|60 yrs and over||2020*||11||7|
More victims among young people
Compared to 2019, the number of homicide deaths decreased in almost all age categories. However, the number of victims among young people up to age 20 increased from 10 to 18. Among teenagers, the increase was only seen among boys. In 2020, 70 percent of homicide victims were between the ages of 20 and 60. Four in ten victims were people in their twenties or thirties.
Fewer killings in the largest cities
Last year, one-quarter of all murders were committed in one of the three largest cities of the Netherlands: 12 in Amsterdam, 10 in Rotterdam and 7 in The Hague. Compared to 2019, there were 7 fewer victims in The Hague and 5 fewer in Amsterdam.
Homicide mortality is highest in the largest cities, with Amsterdam in the lead. In the period 2016-2020, the capital city had 2.0 murder and manslaughter victims per 100 thousand inhabitants. This is almost three times higher than the national average of 0.7 per 100 thousand inhabitants. In Rotterdam, this rate stood at 1.7 and in The Hague there were 1.6 victims per 100 thousand inhabitants.
Many female victims killed by (ex-)partner
In 95 percent of homicide cases among women in the period 2016-2020, the police had identified an offender. In this period, the alleged offender was the partner or ex-partner in nearly six out of ten cases where the victim was female. Domestic circumstances, such as a marital strife, were the most prevalent motive. Women were often killed in their own homes with a stabbing weapon, by assault or by strangulation.
In 80 percent of the male homicide cases over the period 2016-2020, an offender was identified. This (alleged) offender was an acquaintance or friend of the victim in three of the ten cases. One in six killings were linked with organised crime. Three-quarters of male victims were murdered with a firearm or stabbing weapon.
Few murders in the Netherlands compared to other countries
In Europe, the Netherlands is among the countries where relatively few murders are committed. Iceland, Slovenia and Luxembourg have the lowest number of homicide cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. In countries of the former Soviet Union, such as Russia, Ukraine, Latvia and Moldova, the number of killings is relatively highest.
|(per 100,000 inhabitants, on average)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1.18|
|Source: CBS, UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)|
|* = 2018, ** = 2017|