Most EU funding received by the Netherlands is for research and innovation

© Hollandse Hoogte
The Netherlands received more than 2.9 billion euros in funding from the European Commission in 2022. This money is earmarked for various purposes that are grouped into 15 themed clusters. Most of the money (38 percent) went to research and innovation, particularly at universities and colleges. The distribution of funding received by the Netherlands across different clusters shows a quite different pattern to the funding received by other countries and to European spending as a whole. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on figures from the European Commission.

Funds disbursed to member states by the European Commission are divided into 15 clusters which represent various themes and objectives. Of the 2.9 billion euros that the Netherlands received from Brussels in 2022, 38 percent (over 1.1 billion euros) was in the research and innovation cluster. The second largest item was agriculture and maritime policy, at 29 percent (847 million euros). This money is generally disbursed in the agriculture sector. In third place is investing in people, social cohesion and values, which includes support for vulnerable working people and the unemployed. The Netherlands received 265 million euros for this purpose. This is followed, at some distance, by security, European strategic investment and various other grants.

Funding allocated to the Netherlands by the European Commission, 2022
Research and innovation37.86
Agriculture and maritime policy29.01
Investing in people, social cohesion and values9.07
European strategic investments4.11

In addition to the funds from these 15 clusters, the Netherlands received over 490 million euros in 2022 through the solidarity mechanism and over 100 million in order to fund European institutions. In total, the Netherlands received 3.5 billion euros from the European Commission in 2022.

Most European spending goes to agriculture

Looking at the funds that the European Commission allocates to all EU member states combined, we see a quite different pattern of distribution between the various clusters than the funding received by the Netherlands. Across the EU as a whole, spending on agriculture and maritime policy (39 percent) and regional development and cohesion (31 percent) are the largest items by far. This is followed by investing in people, social cohesion and values, at 13 percent of total spending. In fifth place are European strategic investments (3 percent). Seven percent goes to other items. In total, the European Commission disbursed nearly 139 billion euros to member states across all 15 clusters.

Regional development and cohesion is the second largest item of European spending at over 42.5 billion euros, but the Netherlands receives relatively little money in this area. The aim of this type of funding is to reduce economic and social disparities between the different regions of Europe. There are also major differences when it comes to spending in the areas of security, including combating cybercrime and terrorism. These constitute a very small percentage of European expenditure as a whole, but in the Netherlands they account for 5 percent of funds received from the EU.

European Commission expenditure, 2022
ClusterPercentage share
Agriculture and maritime policy39.4
Regional development and cohesion30.6
Investing in people, social cohesion and values12.5
Research and innovation8.2
European strategic investments2.7

In France and Germany, most funding goes to agriculture

There are major differences between countries when it comes to what EU funds are spent on. For example, France and Germany receive relatively large amounts of funding for agriculture and maritime policy. In France, this made up 60 percent of the funding it received from the EU, and in Germany 47 percent. In Poland, over half (56 percent) of the funding received is earmarked for regional development and cohesion. In Belgium, as in the Netherlands, the largest funding item is research and innovation (26 percent). Belgium also receives a relatively large share (11 percent) from the ‘external action’ cluster (international cooperation), which falls into the category of ‘other’ in the chart below.

Funding received from the European Commission by selected countries, 2022
LandAgriculture and maritime policy (%)Regional development and cohesion (%)Research and innovation (%)Investing in people, social cohesion and values (%)European strategic investments (%)Other (%)

Germany and the Netherlands receive the least funding per capita

The Netherlands receives the second-lowest amount of EU funding per capita, after Germany. The Netherlands received about 200 euros per person, the vast majority of which (166 euros) came from the 15 clusters. Germany receives an average of 169 euros per capita each year. Luxembourg receives by far the highest amount, followed (at some distance) by Belgium and the Baltic states. Luxembourg receives relatively large amounts of funding for research and innovation (€483.5 million), given the size of its population. The country also receives a relatively large amount in order to fund the European agencies that are located there. Much of the funding received by Belgium is also provided for that purpose.

Funding allocated to EU member states by the European Commission, per capita, 2022 1)
LandFrom themed clusters (euro)For European institutions (euro)From solidarity mechanism (euro)
1)Based on number of inhabitants as of 1 January 2022

Member states also pay into the European Union budget. Some countries, including the Netherlands, pay more into the EU than they receive. In 2022, the Netherlands contributed around 557 euros per person to the EU budget. That was 357 euros more than it received in EU funding. This makes the Netherlands a net contributor to the EU. Other countries that are net contributors include Germany, Ireland and Sweden. But net contributor countries still receive funding from the European Union.

The 200 euros that the Netherlands receives per capita is made up of funding for the 15 themed clusters, the solidarity mechanism and funding for European institutions. The payments made go towards the EU budget as a whole, including some projects that fall outside the responsibility of the European member states.