Widows and Orphans Development Foundation

Key facts The Netherlands

  • There are 858,443 widowed persons in the Netherlands out of the total population of 17,282,163 as of December 2019 (according to the Central Bureau of Statistics).
  • Among them, 657,169 are widowed women and 201,274 widowed men.
  • The death of the spouse can be a major source of loneliness, psycho-social stress, and depression to the widowed persons (Van den Berg et al, 2006).
  • Conjugal bereavement may directly deteriorate the physical health of the surviving spouse by impairing the immune system, increasing the prevalence of chronic illnesses.
  • The death of the partner increases the mortality rate of the surviving spouse especially during the first three years, in particular among the older widows.
  • Men are more vulnerable to depression than women during the widowhood period (Van Grootheest et al, 1999).
  • Social relationships and networks may help alleviate loneliness and stress thus enhancing the wellbeing of widowed persons and reducing the costs of formal care services.