External causes of death

What does the survey comprise?


To report on all deaths caused by murder and manslaughter, suicide and accidents.


For murder and manslaughter all victims are counted for which the crime was committed in the Netherlands. Victims can be Dutch residents or non-Dutch residents.
For suicide and accidents in principle all victims are counted when they are Dutch residents, no matter where the event happened. Detailed information on Dutch residents who died abroad is only occasionally available.

Statistical unit

Deceased persons.

Date/year survey started

Since 1996.



Publication strategy

Provisional figures are published per year, definite figures are published later afterwards.

How is the survey conducted?

Survey type

The cause of death statistic is a registration of all deceased persons, who were registered as residents of the Netherlands at the time of death.

Survey method

The information is based on a combination of sources:
For every deceased person a cause-of-death certificate is completed by the physician treating the deceased at the time of death or by a legal physician. The cause-of-death certificate is sent to Statistics Netherlands, together with the mutation (of vital status) of the population register in the municipality where the death took place. The cause-of-death certificate can also be send to Statistics Netherlands through a secure digital connection.
Additional information about the deaths caused by external causes is collected from the files at the law court. From the registration of road traffic accidents at the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment a file with additional information about the road casualties is received. The police provides further information about suicides.


- physicians, issuing cause-of-death certificates;
- municipal population registers (BRP)
- law courts
- register of road traffic accidents, Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment
- police

Size of the registration

In the past years around 5 to 6 thousand people deceased as a result of external causes of death in the Netherlands.

Checking and correction methods

Statistics Netherlands relies on the information supplied by the physicians. In a number of cases where the underlying cause is unclear, the physician concerned is asked for further information.


Not applicable.

Quality of the results


By combining information from different sources Statistics Netherlands tries to increase the accuracy and completeness of the data. Not all circumstances surrounding death can be captured precisely and systematically, which can be seen in the categories other and unknown. The limited availability of information about the circumstances of death for Dutch residents dying abroad can cause underreporting.

Sequential comparability

Causes of deaths are coded with codes from the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). The ICD is an international list of the World Health Organisation (WHO) used to classify and code causes of death. The 10th revisions of ICD is applicable from 1996 onwards.

Until 2012 coding was done by hand and for each deceased person a maximum of three secondary causes of death were mentioned. From year under review 2013 coding is done automatically by IRIS and all underlying diseases on the cause-of-death certificate are coded.