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Dutch economy: strongest contraction ever and yet we are doing well

The Dutch economy is doing better in corona time than other European countries. This is partly due to the “intelligent lockdown” during the first wave.

The economy may have been hit hard by the corona crisis, but our country is still coming off mercifully. This is evident from a European comparison made by Statistics Netherlands. The Dutch economy shrank by 8.5 percent in the second quarter of this year. That is the strongest contraction ever recorded. The German economy shrank by 9.7 percent in the same period, the Belgian by 12.1 and the French by 13.8 percent. The greatest effect was on the Spanish economy, which contracted by 17.8 percent. Finland’s was the least affected (minus 4.4 percent).

Tourism

There are a number of explanations that the Netherlands is doing less badly, says Bert Colijn, eurozone economist at ING. First, the intelligent lockdown. In France, among others, the factories and construction were also locked. Much remained open here. “” The Netherlands does not have a car industry and a large tourist sector. “There were very hard blows there in the summer. That affects, for example, Italy and Spain extra. “”

The Netherlands has a good digital infrastructure. As a result, it was relatively easy to switch to working from home, so that companies continued to run.

The decline may be historically large, but this is not evident from the unemployment figures. With 4.5 percent unemployed, the Netherlands is clearly below the European average. “This is partly due to the extensive support measures,” says Colijn. Much support has also been given in other countries. “European unemployment has therefore risen only slightly. From 7.2 percent in February to 8.1 percent in August, ”says Colijn.

Unemployment

Yet there are major differences. Unemployment in Spain is already 16.2 percent. Youth unemployment – which has risen to 11.3 percent in the Netherlands – is now 43.9 percent in Spain. There are also companies that benefited from the crisis. Yesterday, Philips announced that it had made 60 percent more profit in the third quarter through the sale of respiratory equipment. ASML also showed great figures last week.

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