Business survey Netherlands, quarterly

What does the survey comprise?


The Netherlands Business Survey (COEN) quarterly series shows the most important economic developments for the Dutch business sector in a representative way, both at national and at regional level. COEN was set up as a supplement to the monthly surveys carried out by Statistics Netherlands and EIB at European level in manufacturing industry, retail trade, the service sector and the construction sector.
This means that extra questions are asked in the context of COEN at the beginning of a quarter and furthermore, that more companies are involved in the observation.

Target population

All businesses except financial companies and utilities.

Statistical unit

Business locations

Start of the survey

Fourth quarter of 2008



Publication strategy

The results are published in three StatLine tables via the CBS website. The results are broken down by sector, region and size class. The level of detail in the quarterly publication is higher than in the monthly publication Business Survey Netherlands, month. The latter publication only contains results for the Netherlands as a whole for a limited number of business units. Regional details are less available and information about the company size is missing.

How is the survey conducted?

Type of survey

Sample survey among active local business establishments with 5 or more employed persons, which are classified according to company size and region on the basis of their own size and location. Due to linking with other economic statistics, the typing by industry is determined on the basis of the main activity of the 'business unit' used by Statistics Netherlands. In the case of a company with several branches, all branches are therefore assigned to the industry that is related to the activity of the company as a whole.

Observation method

The data in the survey are for the most part collected via digital surveys at companies. A marginal number of surveys are taken on paper. Most COEN questions can be answered easily and quickly, because the number of numerical answers that may require consultation with the administration is very limited. Not all sectors within the services are observed, but the sectors that are observed are sufficiently representative to make statements about the entire services (with the exception of financial institutions).


Business locations

Sample size

Statistics Netherlands sends about 7,500 surveys, of which at least 5,500 are completed. In addition, data on the construction sector are based on several hundred surveys that are conducted by the EIB.

Monitoring and correction methods

Submissions from business locations are assessed on the basis of their plausibility, completeness and consistency. For non-responding business locations, company data are imputed (estimated).

Data accuracy

During the survey, information will be gathered which is related to expected developments in turnover, prices and employment in a particular industry. The expectations previously described by entrepreneurs are systematically checked against the actual developments as collected through other surveys. Furthermore, an accuracy margin is calculated so as to ascertain the reliability of the outcomes.

Sequential comparability

The method used in the statistical processing of the sample data is aimed at guaranteeing the sequential comparability of the results.

Quality strategy

We check for completeness, internal consistency and plausibility of the figures. Furthermore, the outcomes are systematically checked against the results of comparable surveys in neighbouring countries. The process surrounding this statistic meets the ISO-9001 guideline.

Overview of questions and answers

With the Netherlands Business Survey (COEN), not all sectors are asked the same questions.
The overview below shows the questions that are asked in a certain sector. The answer options can be found on page 2 of this overview of questions.