19 March 2024, by Emily Proctor

For the first time since 2015, office vacancy rates across the Netherlands have increased as companies choose smaller offices and hybrid models of working. Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands played a significant role in this, with many companies preferring to let employees work from home or from coworking spaces.

Empty office trend set to continue for the coming years 

After the peak of the pandemic, lockdowns and work-from-home orders issued in 2020 and 2021, many large employers wanted to give up their large office spaces in favour of a hybrid working model or a continued policy of working from home. Despite this, lots of firms found themselves locked into long-term rental agreements with the owners of their offices, and have only now become able to ditch their large, empty offices in favour of smaller ones that are more compatible with a flexible working model. 

According to real estate advisor Colliers, as reported by NOS, more empty offices will be added in the coming years. Companies are on the hunt for smaller offices, with more space for colleagues to have informal meetings and discussions, which can improve cooperation between colleagues and teams. 

There is also “a lot of demand for sustainable offices and offices near stations and [the] metro,” says Madeline Buijs, chief economist at Colliers. This means that employees no longer need to drive to work as they can take public transport to their sustainable office, allowing companies and employees to reduce their carbon footprint. 

More than 800 football fields of vacant offices in the Netherlands

As it stands, there are approximately 800 football fields’ worth of empty offices across the country. The number of empty square metres increased by 6 percent in the last quarter of 2023, showing that employers are keen to move away from renting large office spaces. 

However, in 2015, double this amount of office space was vacant, though many of these empty offices have now been demolished as they became outdated and dilapidated. Roughly a quarter of vacant offices in the Netherlands have been empty for over three years.

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