Bankruptcies in the Netherlands increased by 50 percent in 2023, economic pressure felt across Europe

Reading time: 5 minutes | Written by Shirley Chih | June 10, 2024

Press releases

Rotterdam, June 10, 2024 – In 2023, the Netherlands saw a 50 percent increase in bankruptcies compared to 2022, according to the Global Bankruptcy Report by business data expert Altares Dun & Bradstreet.

Since 2021, there has been an average annual increase of 12% worldwide in the number of companies filing for bankruptcy. In the Netherlands, we also see the number of bankruptcies rising to pre-COVID levels. During the pandemic, many companies stayed afloat thanks to financial support, but now many of these companies, especially those with a relatively high risk of bankruptcy, are going under. The fact that these companies are now going bankrupt is often not a surprise and can even indicate a recovery of the Dutch economy.

Increase in Europe and Worldwide

Globally, 45 countries/regions were examined, including 29 in Europe. More than half of these countries, including the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland, Canada, and the United Kingdom, saw an increase in the number of corporate bankruptcies in 2023 compared to the previous year. Worldwide, the number of bankruptcies increased by 12.5 percent in 2023, compared to 11.6 percent in 2022. Despite the rise in the Netherlands, the number of bankruptcies here remains relatively low compared to pre-pandemic years.    

The Netherlands: A Positive Outlier in Europe

Nederland staat er relatief goed voor in vergelijking met andere Europese landen. Hoewel het aantal faillissementen in Nederland in 2023 toenam, blijft het aantal faillissementen stabiel en is het zelfs lager dan eerdere piekjaren door de groei van het aantal bedrijven. Nederland is niet het enige Europese land met een stijging in faillissementen ten opzichte van 2022. Zo zien we in Polen (56%), Duitsland (21%) en het Verenigd Koninkrijk (12%) ook aanzienlijke toenames.

"An increase in the number of bankruptcies does not automatically mean that a country's economy is declining. A good example of this is the United States, where the number of bankruptcies is rising, but the economy is still showing slight growth. As an export country, the Netherlands depends on trading partners such as the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. When economic growth in these countries decreases, it will also be noticeable in the Netherlands," says Barry de Goeij, Senior Data Scientist at Altares Dun & Bradstreet.

Dutch Trade and Construction Remain Vulnerable

In the Netherlands, the construction sector and retail trade are the hardest hit when it comes to bankruptcies. The construction sector faces challenges such as rising raw material prices, labor shortages, and a limited number of building permits for new housing. The retail sector struggles with high costs and changing consumer patterns as a result. Moreover, companies in these sectors were the most reliant on financial support measures during the COVID-19 crisis.

Moderately Positive

"Ultimately, the outlook for the second half of 2024 is moderately positive, but ongoing geopolitical tensions and potential new disruptions in the supply chain create uncertainty. For now, the rise in bankruptcies remains within the historical range we are accustomed to. The indicators do not suggest an imminent explosion in bankruptcies," says de Goeij.

You can view the entire report here.

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Shirley Chih

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