Debt problems in the Netherlands
Investigation into whether the economic crisis is truly over.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Credit Registration Office in 2015, Tilburg University investigated whether the economic crisis is truly over. Part of this study involved data collection on debt problems in the Netherlands using the CentER panel.

In assessing the financial situation of consumers, a comparison was made between 2006 (pre-crisis), 2008 (start of the crisis), the crisis years 2010 and 2012 and the years 2014 and 2015 (the current measurement). The years in which the largest number of households had a small or large amount of surplus income and the smallest number of households needed to eat into their savings or go into debt were 2008 and 2010. At the formal start of the crisis in 2008, households appeared to have enough of a financial buffer. The full impact of the crisis came in the years after. In 2015 households were starting to show signs of recovery.

In the past 10-15 years, nearly half of the respondents took out a loan (including mortgages). Most loans were taken out before 2009; in the following years, the number of households taking out loans decreased. These loans are not without risk; approximately one sixth of the people who took out loans, mortgages included, are unsure whether they will manage to repay their debt. This mainly concerns people who experienced setbacks in their job market position. The remainder primarily consists of single parents with children and people with low education qualifications.

The report was presented to the Credit Registration Office at the anniversary congress on 19 November 2015.

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