Trends in Time

The Use and Organization of Time in the Netherlands, 1975-2000

Trends in time
pdf, 980kB
Andries van den Broek and Koen Breedveld (eds.) Jos de Haan Joep de Hart Frank Huysmans
Publication date
26 October 2004
time use, leisure time, social participation, media, ict, sport
Number of pages

How do the Dutch spend their time? How much time for example do they devote to remunerated work, care, reading or voluntary work? And: how is time structured in Dutch society? To what extent is Sunday still a special day?

The Social and Cultural Planning Office has been participating in a survey since 1975 that seeks to answer these questions. The most recent time use survey was conducted in October 2000. This book sets out the most important trends in time use and the structuring of time.

The Dutch lead significantly busier lives. More people are engaged in the labour market, with an increase in average hours worked. Similarly, there has been an increase in commitments - employment, household management and education. More people are combining work and care. These people not only have relatively little free time but also often feel under 'pressure'.

More commitments implies less time for leisure activities. Outdoor leisure pursuits, in particular, have been cut back on, such as visiting, voluntary work, sport and exercise. There has also been a decline in reading and household social contacts. By contrast, the Dutch continue to watch as much television as before. Computer use is clearly on the rise.

There is no question of a 24-hour economy. Despite the new Working Hours Act the bulk of work is still performed during the day on weekdays. In 2000 a small proportion of work was in fact performed during the evening, at night and at weekends. In the case of household activities, however, there has been a slight shift to evenings, nights and weekends. The traditional saying 'Monday - washday' seems to be gradually losing its relevance. The new Shopping Hours Act has enabled a growing group of consumers to perform their shopping in the evening.