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Netherlands – More self-employed on the market

24 May 2012

More and more people in the Netherlands choose to work as self-employed as this number has risen by over 200,000 over the last ten years which is entirely due to an increase in self-employed people without personnel (ZZP’ers), reports Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

ZZP’ers can predominantly be found in “the older age categories” and are among the higher educated where their presence rose from 163,000 in 2002 to 293,000 in 2011 – this represents nearly two thirds of the total growth in self-employed without personnel.

In 2011 there was a total of 728,000 self-employed people while the number of ZZP’ers remained flat at approximately 350,000.

The CBS also reports that the total number of self-employed in the labour force under the age of 65 increased between 2002 and 2011 from 867,000 to nearly 1.1 million.

It seems that ZZP’ers are particularly active in the commercial services sectors where their number increased from 214,000 in 2002 to 302,000 in 2010. The CBS said that it is primarily providers of business services who account for this growth.

In industry, which includes major sectors such as construction and manufacturing, the number of ZZP’ers also increased from 84,000 in 2002 to 124,000 thousand in 2010. The agriculture, forestry and fisheries was the only sector to show a decline in the number of self-employed people.

ZZP’ers represented as much as 13.4% of the total workforce in 2010. 


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