Dutch Language Blog

Dutch Numbers on Everything! Posted by on May 27, 2020 in News

Het Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek or CBS is the government organisation that gathers statistical information about the Netherlands.  The CBS has been around since 1899 and provides reliable information related to population, economic growth, unemployment, religion and more. This post will explore the organisation and what kind of information you can find.

Photo taken by Artiom Gorgan found on Flickr.com with license CC BY 2.0


Like I mentioned above, the CBS has been around since 1899, and like its website states, it sprung from the need of independent and reliable information. Below is a short explanation from the CBS website as to what it is they do:

In een samenleving waarin informatie explosief toeneemt (increases), is het vrij kunnen beschikken over betrouwbare en integrale data cruciaal. Het CBS levert als hét statistische bureau van Nederland met betrouwbare (reliable) statistische informatie en data inzicht in maatschappelijke vraagstukken (social issues). Daarmee voedt het CBS het maatschappelijk debat, de beleidsontwikkeling (policy development) en de besluitvorming en draagt zo bij aan welvaart, welzijn en democratie.

The information the CBS researches and publishes is of use to the government, businesses, journalists, researchers, and many others. The video below explains more about what the CBS does. There are a few words that come up a lot that are useful to know before you watch it.

bron- means source
feiten- facts
betrouwbare– reliable
vraagstukken– issues
onafhankelijk– independent
leveren– to deliver
beslissen– to decide

Onderzoek op de website

If you check the CBS website, you will find the 5 main categories that they focus on: arbeid en inkomen, economie, maatschappij, regio and corporate. There is also a section where you can check their overall numbers or cijfers. In addition to these umbrella group, the CBS also has data on other areas that do not fall directly on their research lines such as alcoholverkooppunten in oktober 2019, hernieuwbare (renewable) energie-installaties bij woningen, exportbestemmingen goederen en diensten per land, musea naar provincie en type, and kilometers op Nederlands grondgebied (territory) among others.

The most interesting information for me is directly on their homepage www.cbs.nl. There they regularly publish short interesting articles based on the data they have. One section is the CBS-cijfers coronacrisis where you can find several topics related to corona including the ongoing economic consequences of the crisis, the influence its had on mobility, etc.

The CBS also has an article is about the increase of 7.3% in home prices in April 2020. You can check the different information related to this including a map of the Netherlands showing per region the increase. The region of Noord-Holland where Amsterdam is located continues to have the highest housing prices.

The headliner for today is the article about a decrease in youth (15 to 25 years old) volunteers or vrijwilligers in 2019 compared to the year before. 1 out of 5 youth volunteers do so in sports club.

Jongeren zetten zich het vaakst als vrijwilliger in voor sportverenigingen (20 procent), gevolgd door scholen (11 procent) en jeugdorganisaties (9 procent). Daarna volgen verzorging en verpleging, hobby- en gezelligheidsverenigingen (social associations), en kerken en levensbeschouwelijke (spiritual) organisaties (allemaal rond 5 procent). Een klein deel van de jongeren is actief als vrijwilliger voor onder meer culturele verenigingen, organisaties ten behoeve van wijk of buurt, of vakbonden.

Onderzoek op Social Media

The CBS also shares many of its information on social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. One of their most recent videos is about the number of people in the Netherlands that don’t have internet at home and some of the reasons behind it. With the recent intelligent lockdown in the Netherlands, most people are required to work from home, but this isn’t possible for everyone.

Does your country have an organisation like the CBS that publishes statistical information? Do you find this information interesting?


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About the Author: Karoly Molina

Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated with languages and writing. I speak English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and a little bit of French. I am a writer, reader, language teacher, traveler, and a food lover! I now live in The Netherlands with my husband Riccardo, our cat Mona, and our dog Lisa, and the experience has been phenomenal. The Dutch culture is an exciting sometimes topsy-turvy world that I am happily exploring!


  1. Jim Vitak:

    Just a quick question: would mushrooms—regardless of being edible or not— be growing much in spring along coastal Holland near Amsterdam? And would it be considered spring most years by mid-May? Thanks!

    • Karoly Molina:

      @Jim Vitak Hi Jim, I am not an expert mushroom picker, but these are usually found in the fall. Mid-May is usually considered spring, however, the warmer spring means that the spring flowers bloom earlier and are gone in May. I hope this helps.