Updated on July 19, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

TheNetherlands is a beautiful country known as a land of windmills, canals and tulips. Today’s visitors are more attracted to tourist attractions which are closer to nature and beyond the crowds and this country has many breathtaking gardens and picturesque villages. Tourists will also find vibrant cities, like Amsterdam, filled with museums showcasing a rich heritage of artists (Rembrandt and Van Gogh). Other places to visit include numerous medieval castles and cityscapes, along with a 13,800-acre national park, and a tide control system that’s been named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. The tourism industry in the Netherlands is booming and the country is welcoming and looking forward to receiving tourists in a safe, responsible way even after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here we are going to describe some of the top trends, statistics and facts about the tourism sector in the Netherlands.

Covid-19 and Tourism Industry

In 2020, the measures and flight restrictions heavily impacted tourism in the Netherlands due to the coronavirus pandemic. Only 7 million international tourists were registered in accommodation facilities in the Netherlands during 2020, with over 13 million fewer guests compared to 2019.

However, it is now safe to say that tourists and travellers can pack their bags as the Netherlands has largely opened for travellers all over the world after months of keeping in place strict lockdowns and travel measures.

Pre- and Post-Covid statistics and trends

  • Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the total contribution of travel and tourism to the gross domestic product (GDP) in the Netherlands was around 89 billion euros.
  • In 2020, with the onset of the health crisis, this figure dropped to 56.6 billion euros.
  • In the Netherlands, leisure travel accounted for the highest share of travel and tourism spending in 2020.
  • That year, expenditure on leisure trips made up 85% of total tourism spending, denoting an increase over the previous year.
  • The Netherlands recorded a total of 7 million tourists in 2020, ranking 29th in the world in absolute terms.
  • With 0.42 tourists per resident, the Netherlands ranked 70th in the world. In Western Europe, it ranked 7th.
  • The Netherlands generated around 10.93 billion US dollars in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 1.1% of its gross domestic product and approximately 13% of all international tourism receipts in Western Europe.
  • The most popular city in the Netherlands for international travellers is Amsterdam.
  • In 2019 it reached 26th place among the world’s most popular cities with 8.84 million tourists.
  • On average, each of the tourists arriving in 2020 spent about 1,272 US Dollars.
  • In 2021, international hotel guests in the Netherlands were much more likely to stay overnight in Amsterdam than in any other major city in the country.
  • Around 1.74 millioninternational guests made use of hotel accommodations in the capital city of the Netherlands, whereas approximately 215 thousand and 210 thousand people stayed at hotels in Rotterdam and The Hague, respectively.
  • Observing the number of domestic hotel guests in major cities in the Netherlands in 2020, Amsterdam attracted roughly 871 thousand Dutch people staying at hotel accommodations, whereas Maastricht had 309 thousand hotel guests.
  • Couples with children spend the most in 2019 on holiday expenditures, with an average expenditure of over 2,800 euros.
  • Single travellers spent the least money on holidays, with averagespending of almost 1,500 euros.

Contribution of Tourism To Netherlands Economy

  • The importance of domestic and inbound tourism for the Netherlands remains high, with both providing a substantial impetus to the Dutch economy.
  • In 2018, expenditure in the hospitality sector accounted for EUR 87.5 billion.
  • In 2018, the sector employed 679 000 people, which accounted for 7.2% of total employment.
  • The sector directly contributes to 4.4% of total GDP.
  • Travel exports accounted for 7.6% of total service exports in 2018.
  • According to the latest figures, in 2018 the Netherlands was visited by 18.8 million international overnight visitors, with the most significant proportion originating from neighbouring countries.
  • As in previous years, Germany was the largest source market (30.3%), growing 8.5% in 2018 when compared with 2017.
  • Other leading foreign markets were Belgium(12.8%) and the United Kingdom (11.8%). Also, many tourists came from Asia(7.2 %) and America (11.0%).
  • Inbound tourism generated receipts of EUR 32.5 billion.
  • In addition, the number of domestic overnight visitors in the Netherlands in 2018 was 25.1 million, up 3.4% over 2017.
  • Domestic tourism generated receipts of EUR 51.9 billion.

Tourism Industry Insight

  • In the Netherlands, an initiative has been started to develop an integrated approach to biodiversity-friendly tourism, focusing on tourists from the Netherlands with a destination abroad.
  • It will involve a whole range of activities, such as information from travel agencies, decisions by the public to book trips, effects of travelling, possibilities for reducing the negative impact of holiday accommodation, activities undertaken by tourists abroad, etc.
  • Perspective 2030 is a new vision about the changing role of tourism and the sustainable development of the Netherlands as a destination.
  • This vision proposes a new approach, that prioritises the common interests of visitors, businesses and residents.
  • This vision will ensure that tourism is contributing to the prosperity and well-being of all Dutch people.
  • This vision will promote that all of the Netherlands is attractive and they will put more cities and regions on the map as attractive destinations.
  • Accessible and achievable is also a key priority of this vision where cities and regions will be easily accessible to visitors.
  • Sustainability is a must for this vision where a living environment with less waste and pollution is possible.
  • Hospitality is an important aspect to make the Netherlands an attractive destination, therefore, this vision will invest in the image, the professionality and the attractiveness of the industry to realise an optimal hospitality experience.

Other tourist-related Trends

  • After months of uncertainty, the Dutch government has finally clarified the new entry requirements for non-EU citizens travelling to the Netherlands.
  • From 23 March 2022, all travellers to the nation will be permitted entry – without presenting evidence of coronavirus vaccination, recovery or a negative test result.
  • Once a mere fishing village, Rotterdam is now the Netherlands’ most modern city. Both bike-friendly and largely pedestrianised, the port city boasts an impressive array of culturally-diverse neighbourhoods for visitors to explore under their own steam.
  • The popular Delfshaven district is where pilgrims set sail in 1620, and its summertime festival attracts thousands of visitors every year.
  • Groningen is known for its university culture, this small yet bustling city is the most popular destination for travellers exploring the northern Netherlands.
  • Museum-lovers will be in their element as they stroll around Groninger Museum – one of the most modern galleries in Holland.
  • Nightlife hotspots in Groningen such as The Grote Markt offer partygoers a chance to let their hair down.
  • The student life brings people to Groningen city, and Groningen’s cafe culture makes them stay.
  • The centre of the tulip bulb-growing district, Haarlem is unofficially dubbed Bloemenstad, or ‘flower city’.
  • Lying on the shoreline of the Spaarne River, visitors can hop on a bike and cycle to the beach in under half an hour – offering fantastic views across the Kennemerduinen dunes.
  • Utrecht is regarded as the fourth happiest place in the world, this beautiful town might be the perfect place for visitors looking to clear away the winter blues.
  • The Hague is known for being the home of the Dutch parliament and the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, it is a place more commonly associated with news reports than travel wish lists.
  • No trip to the Netherlands would be complete without seeing some tulips, and where better to see them than at the most beautiful spring garden, “Keukenhof”.
  • Keukenhof is located less than an hour from Amsterdam, known as ‘the Garden of Europe’ is one of the world’s largest flower gardens, covering 32 hectares and boasting over seven million stunning blooms every year.
  • Rotterdam is Netherlands’second-largest city and is beloved by photographers and available to rent on Airbnb, the Piet Blom-designed cube houses are reason enough to visit this amazing city.
  • Alkmaar is the town known for its traditional cheese market, which takes place on Friday mornings from April to early September and most travellers flock here for cheese.
  • Volendam is a picturesque fishing village, and it is well-known for its colourful wooden houses, bobbing fishing boats, and seafood stall after seafood stall dishing up fish and chips, smoked eel, and pickled herring piled high with onions.