Dutch economy grew by 4.5 percent in 2022

© ANP / Peter Hilz
The Dutch economy grew by 4.5 percent in 2022, after growing by 4.9 percent in 2021. Such growth over two consecutive years had not yet been recorded this century. Both inflation and household consumption hit record levels. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in an annual review of the economy for the year 2022.

The last few measures to combat coronavirus were abolished in March 2022. At the end of February, Russia invaded Ukraine, which also disrupted the Dutch economy. Inflation rose rapidly as a result. Nevertheless, households continued to spend more than ever before (adjusted for price changes).

Economic growth primarily due to more hours worked and higher consumption

Over half of the economic growth in 2022 was contributed by households and their inclination to buy.
Consumers had enough income to spend on goods and services despite higher prices. Wages did not rise as fast as inflation, but households worked many more hours; 441 thousand new jobs were added last year. The population aged 15 to 74 years in paid work reached an unprecedented size in 2022.

The economy can grow if more hours are worked and/or workers are more productive. Long-term economic growth is mainly achieved through more productive workers (higher labour productivity). The growth in 2022 was largely due to a higher number of hours worked (+3.8 percent). Labour productivity, calculated here as real gross domestic product (GDP) per hour worked, increased much less rapidly.

GDP, labour productivity and hours worked
JaarGDP (y-o-y % change)Labour productivity (y-o-y % change)Hours worked (y-o-y % change)

More spent on recreation, culture, transport and accommodation and food services

In 2022 (adjusted for price changes), consumers spent 6.6 percent more than in 2021; an historically large increase. They mainly spent more on services such as accommodation and food services, recreation, culture, transport and communication. Society was reopened for most of 2022, whereas a hard lockdown applied for almost half of the year 2021.
In other words, households mainly increased their spending on sectors which were hit hard in 2020 and 2021 as a result of coronavirus measures. For example: in 2022 culture, sports, recreation and other services was the sector with the fastest increase in value added (i.e. the difference between production and consumption of energy, materials and services) at 34 percent. On the other hand, in 2022 the value added of this sector was still slightly below the pre-pandemic level.

In business services, rapid growth was mainly seen in travel, temporary employment and specialised business services (e.g. management consultancies and architectural and engineering firms). As for trade, transportation and accommodation and food services, the highest growth in this sector was achieved in accommodation and food services and in transport. People were able to visit restaurants and bars and go on holidays abroad again. Public transport also carried more people last year than in 2021.

Value added by economic sector (volume, basic prices)
Bedrijfstak2022 (y-o-y % change)2021 (y-o-y % change)
Culture, sports,
recreation, other services
Energy companies9.86.3
Business services8.87.1
Trade, transport, storage,
accommodation and food services
Information and communication4.37.1
Real estate activities3.82.5
Public services, education, care2.44.6
Agriculture, forestry, fishing-1.12.4
Financial institutions-1.4-0.7
Water supply, waste management-2.40.4
Mining, quarrying-11.0-17.0

Dutch economy grew faster than surrounding economies

Dutch economic growth last year was higher than growth in the surrounding countries and also higher than the EU average. It was different in 2021, when the Netherlands recorded somewhat slower growth compared to most neighbouring countries. This was due to the more modest economic contraction in the Netherlands in 2020.
The economy of the European Union (EU27) grew faster at 3.6 percent than the economies of China (3.0 percent) and the United States (2.1 percent). In all these countries, growth was smaller than in 2021.

Economic growth, international comparison
 2022 (y-o-y % change)2021 (y-o-y % change)
United Kingdom47.6
United States2.15.9
Source: CBS, Eurostat
* 2022 based on seasonally adjusted quarterly figures.