12 January 2022, by Victoria Séveno
In spite of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that, in 2021, the Netherlands recorded its lowest number of bankruptcies in over 30 years, with a total of 1.536 companies being declared bankrupt last year.
Effect of COVID-19 on Dutch businesses
The initial outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown meant the Netherlands saw its number of bankruptcies peak at 338 in April 2020. Since then, the country has observed a significant fall in the number of bankruptcies declared on a monthly basis.
After a slight increase in November of last year, CBS reports that in December 2021, 137 companies (excluding sole proprietorships) were declared bankrupt. Pre-pandemic, in December 2019, this figure was at 243.
1.536 bankruptcies in the Netherlands in 2021
Factoring in the data from December, CBS has announced that, in 2021, the Netherlands recorded its lowest number of bankruptcies since 1990, and the second-lowest figure since records began in 1981. Last year, a total of 1.536 companies in the Netherlands filed for bankruptcy. This marks a fall of 43 percent compared to 2020.
While the Netherlands has marked a year-on-year decline in the number of bankruptcies since a peak of 8.376 in 2013, CBS notes that the fact that figures have continued to fall throughout the course of the pandemic “cannot be seen separately from the emergency support from the government.”
Support from Dutch government keeping businesses afloat
Industries that saw the highest number of bankruptcies over the past two years are trade, construction, financial services, and specialist business services. While many have voiced concerns about the effects of the numerous lockdown measures on the retail, hospitality, and cultural industries, CBS reports that bankruptcies in these sectors have remained low.
Last year, 97 businesses in the hospitality sector filed for bankruptcy, while 22 in the cultural, sports, and recreational sectors were declared bankrupt. The Central Planning Bureau (CPB) has warned that ongoing support from the Dutch government has kept many struggling businesses afloat, and experts and employees’ organisations have warned, once this support comes to an end, a bankruptcy wave will be inevitable.