Outward Fats; statistics on Dutch control over foreign companies

What does the survey cover?

Outward Fats is a statistic that is made on the basis of observations at companies. These companies have the Netherlands as the Ultimate Controlling Institutional unit (UCI) and have foreign subsidiaries. The UCI is the unit from which strategic decisions are made worldwide (e.g. appointments of directors, investments ) are taken for the companies.

Outward Fats involves all companies whose UCI is located in the Netherlands and which have subsidiaries abroad.

The Outward Fats data is presented by country and activity (SBI 2008 section B to S excluding O) of the foreign subsidiary, excluding activities in agriculture and fishing, public administration, households and extraterritorial organizations and bodies.


The Outward Fats statistic is an indicator for the internationalization of Dutch business. The data shows five variables, namely net turnover, employed persons (FTE), personnel costs, investments and number of companies active outside the Netherlands by country of establishment and activity (SBI 2008).

Target population

The target population of Outward Fats consists of all companies that are active in the Netherlands, whose UCI is located in the Netherlands and for which they have subsidiaries outside the Netherlands. Not observed are companies with an activity in agriculture and fishing, public administration, households and extraterritorial organizations and bodies.

Commencement of survey

The Outward Fats statistic has been a mandatory statistic by the European Union since the 2007 reporting period. Information has been available in the Netherlands for subsidiaries outside the EU since 2007 and from 2021 for subsidiaries within and outside the EU.


Outward Fats is published once a year.

Publication strategy

From reporting year 2008 onwards, the Outward Fats table will be published annually at the beginning of November.

How is the survey conducted?

For all companies in the Netherlands it is determined in which country the UCI is located. Companies with foreign subsidiaries are observed through primary observation.

Type of survey

For Outward Fats, data from all relevant companies is collected through direct observation and through administrative sources.

Observation method

Outward Fats is compiled based on primary observation.


Outward Fats reports on Dutch financial and non-financial companies with foreign subsidiaries whose UCI is located in the Netherlands.

Sample size

Between 3500 and 4000 companies.

Detection and correction methods

Outward Fats data must pass the consistency checks included in Foreign Affiliates Statstics (FATS) recommendations Manual 2009 edition. These checks are carried out by both Statistics Netherlands and Eurostat.


The population estimate is achieved by means of a so-called direct estimator. This means that the observed sample units are multiplied by N/n, where N represents the number of companies in the population and n the number of responding companies.

Quality of the results


It concerns an integral observation.

Sequential comparability

The figures up to and including 2020 are comparable over time. A new methodology has been chosen for the 2021 figures, which means that the figures are no longer comparable one-to-one.

Quality strategy

The nationality of UCIs is checked by comparing data from multiple sources and checking any differences. There are currently no (external) sources available for Outward Fats data that could serve as a frame of reference. The Outward Fats data is therefore only monitored longitudinally at company level.