The Heart of the Dutch Economy: Family Businesses Thrive in the Netherlands

A Note from the CEO, Eduard Schaepman

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Family businesses represent approximately 70% of all companies in the Netherlands

A lot is being written these days about the meaning of family businesses. Following the financial crisis in 2008 (who remembers it?), these types of companies finally received the recognition they deserve. Because before 2008, it seemed like everything was happening on the Zuidas or the Damrak. The stock market was hip, while family businesses were considered boring.

However, we have made a remarkable comeback since then. In the Netherlands, family businesses account for a staggering 70% of all enterprises, highlighting their role in not only driving economic growth and employment, but also embracing a profound long-term vision. They form the backbone of our economy and contribute to our communities in ways that go beyond mere statistics. But these numbers are indeed intriguing. So, read on. (Source: CBS)

In 2021, the Netherlands counted: 286,450 family businesses, 184,275 non-family businesses, and 1,415,810 self-employed people (zzp'ers).

Which sectors are leading the way?

Zooming in, we see that among these family businesses, 36,000 are active in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing category (compared to 3,850 non-family businesses). The Industry sector has 16,935 family businesses versus 10,320 non-family businesses, while in the Construction sector, the ratio is 25,990 family businesses to 10,610 non-family businesses. The Transport and Logistics sector has 11,600 family businesses compared to 5,405 non-family businesses. Finally, in the 'Trade' category, there are 67,435 family businesses against 37,610 non-family businesses, just to name a few examples.

Where are the family businesses located?

Family businesses can be found spread throughout the Netherlands. Amsterdam stands out with a staggering 16,975 family businesses, while Rotterdam has 10,305. The Hague, primarily a service-oriented city, is also doing remarkably well with 8,640. The surrounding regions are certainly not lagging behind, with impressive figures in Brabant (Breda 3,610, Eindhoven 3,890, Den Bosch 3,410 and Tilburg 3,210). Many family businesses are also found in wooded areas, such as Nijmegen with 2,508, Apeldoorn with 3,115, Amersfoort with 3,105, and Ede with 3,085. That nothing beats Groningen is evident from the fact that the Northern capital has 3,485 family businesses. Finally, Utrecht occupies an expected middle position with 5,255 family businesses.

In short, you find them everywhere!

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