Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content
European Commission logo
EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.1 General context

Last update: 28 November 2023
On this page
  1. Labour market situation in the country
  2. Definitions and concepts

Labour market situation in the country

The Dutch government is actively involved in taking care that young people leave school with a diploma and are able to find a suitable job. For this the government takes policy measures and cooperates with both the business world and the education sector.

Young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs)

In 2020 over 817.000 Dutch young people between the ages of 15 to 27 years were not in education and 151.000 of them (18.5 percent) did not have a job. 167.000 young people left education without a so-called start qualification, which means not having gained at least a senior general secondary education (HAVO) diploma or a secondary vocational education (MBO) level 2 diploma. 67.000 (40.1 percent) of these 167.000 young people did not have a job, compared to 12.1 percent of the young people that had gained a start qualification.

In 2019 there were 70.000 NEETs without a start qualification. Almost 32.000 (45%) of them wanted to be employed, but could not find a job. Almost 39.000 (55%) of the NEETs without a start qualification were also not available for the labor market for various reasons. Most reasons mentioned were health problems and disabilitiesand having to take care of a family or household. (Source: Centraal Bureau of Statistics CBS Statistics Netherlands).

Youth unemployment due to the corona crisis

The corona crisis negatively affected the youth unemployment rates in the Netherlands. The number of young people (15 till 25 years old) in employment reduced by 139.000 between February and May 2020. The youth unemployment rate raised from 6.3 percent in February 2020 to 11.3 percent in August 2020, after which it slowly decreased to 9.4 percent in February 2021.

Definitions and concepts

Municipalities support young people without a diploma or the necessary start qualification. For youngsters so-called learning companies (in Dutch: leerbedrijven) have been developed as an educational route to combine studying and working, in the sense of learning by doing.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science have taken various actions in 2020 and 2021 to tackle and prevent youth unemployment as a result of the corona crisis:

  • A regional approach to youth employment.
  • Local support for vulnerable young people and young people without a start qualification.
  • A tool for local authorities to track young people who are not entitled to benefits.

Schools and municipalities receive extra funding to stimulate further education and to support young people in finding jobs.