Sustainable development

Land footprint, 1990-2013

You are currently viewing an archived version of a closed indicator. The most recent version containing the reason for closing the indicator can be viewed here.

The amount of land required for Dutch consumption totaled about two and a half times the surface area of the Netherlands in 2013. About 0.5 hectares was used per person. Almost 80% of the land use was abroad. During the early nineties the land footprint increased, mainly due to increased consumption of wood and paper products, but since 2000 the footprint decreased as a result of decreasing consumption of wood and paper products and increased agricultural yields.

Land use for biofuels

The main land use product groups were food products and paper and wood products. The use of biomass for electricity generation and fuel was still limited, but it is expected to increase depending on the ambitions for a sustainable energy supply. The use of biofuels for transportation, mainly made from oil crops, sugar crops and cereals, amounted to 3% of the footprint in 2013. Here also an increase is expected.

Most land use takes place abroad

Over 80% of the land use was abroad. Land use was mainly located in Western Europe (55%, incl the Netherlands) and South-America (19%) (tab Map).

Land use compared to other world citizens

Land use per inhabitant of the Netherlands amounted to almost 0.6 ha in 2007. This was roughly equal to the global average, despite the relatively high level of consumption in The Netherlands. This was because relatively intensive production methods were used to meet consumption demand. Also different methods were used, Dutch footprints were calculated with a physical flow model, and the footprints of global regions were calculated using an environmental economic accounting model. Often the latter type of models result in higher outcomes than physical models (Bruckner et al, 2015).


  • Bruckner, M., et al. (2015). "Measuring telecouplings in the global land system: A review and comparative evaluation of land footprint accounting methods." Ecological Economics 114: 11-21.

Archive for this indicator

Reference for this page

CBS, PBL, RIVM, WUR (2018). Land footprint, 1990-2013 (indicator 0075, version 08 , 15 February 2018 ). Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven; and Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen.

The Environmental Data Compendium is a partnership of CBS, PBL, RIVM and WUR.