The final energy consumption in 2017, corrected for temperature variations, was 50,6 Mtoe. The effect of the economic crisis of 2008 is clearly visible in industry. The consumption of industry has never since returned to the pre-2008 level, although it has been growing again since 2014. The transport sector has the second largest energy consumption, but it includes international aviation which is relatively large in the Netherlands. Transport also peaked in 2008, and after a declining trend until 2013, energy consumption is almost back at the level of 2008. Energy consumption in services is declining slowly, and faster in the residential sector.

Figure 1: Final energy consumption by sector (normal climate)


Efficiency for final energy consumption, as measured by the so-called technical ODEX has improved by around 1.9% per year since 2000. Smaller gains have been registered in transport (0.9%/year including international aviation), and larger gains of 2.6%/year for the residential sector. Gains have been 2.3%/year for industry. The slowdown of efficiency improvements since 2008 in industry may be due to lower investments in new equipment since the crisis. The development of the efficiency observed in the services sector between 2009 and 2012 is an artefact caused by inconsistent data, which will be corrected with the next data submission.

Figure 2: Technical Energy Efficiency Index (ODEX)


The Dutch Climate Act adopted in 2019 sets greenhouse gas emission reductions targets of 49% in 2030 and of 95% by 2050 compared to 1990. In order to meet the 2030 target, the government proposed policies in June 2019, based on the National Climate Agreement which was negotiated by many national stakeholders and builds on the 2013 Energy Agreement. The Climate agreement contains a large set of policy measures (both new and adjustment of existing policies) and actions by stakeholders in the energy sector, industry, the built environment sector, agriculture and land use and the transport sector. Although there are no specific targets on energy-efficiency, many of the proposed CO2 mitigation measures also contribute to energy efficiency.

Apart from national policies, EU policies Ecodesign (for minimum efficiency standards for appliances), the building directive EPBD and efficiency standards for cars also have a large effect on energy savings in the Netherlands.

Table 1: Sample of cross-cutting measures

MeasuresNEEAP measuresDescriptionExpected savings, impact evaluationMore information available
National Climate AgreementyesAgreements about policy measures and stakeholder actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with 49% by 2030.High impact
EIA (Energy Investment Allowance)yesA fiscal measure that offers the possibility to purchase designated innovative energy-efficient equipment for an additional allowance on taxable profit. High impactLink
Energy taxes and surchargesyesThe energy tax is levied on electricity and natural gas, and the level depends on the level of energy consumption of a customer (degressive tariff structure). In 2013 a surcharge system (ODE) was introduced in order to cover expenditures resulting from the sustainable energy production scheme/actions.High impactLink
Source: MURE


The energy used for space heating in households (per m2) has gone steadily down and is now 36% lower than in 2000. A large part is due to the growing share of high efficiency condensing boilers. As shown in figure 4, energy used for water heating has also gone down considerably, due to the same condensing boilers that combine space heating and water heating. Cooking used less energy due to a shift from gas to electrical stoves. Only electricity use increased due to higher ownership of electrical appliances that more than compensated the increased efficiency of electrical appliances.

Figure 3: Energy consumption of space heating per m2 (normal climate)


Figure 4: Energy consumption per dwelling by end-use (except space heating)


The changes in energy consumption in households (-1.14 Mtoe from 2000 to 2017, or -11%) can be split into different effects. More dwellings and changes in lifestyles (more electrical appliances and larger homes) as a whole had an important increasing effect on energy consumption (4.14 Mtoe). These effects are more than compensated by technical energy savings which resulted in a decrease the energy consumption by 5,05 Mtoe. 'Climate' had an increasing effect because 2017 was slightly colder than 2000. The decrease in 'Others' is probably due to changes in behaviour.

Figure 5: Main drivers of the energy consumption variation in households


Energy consumption per employee has decreased by 0.9% per year on average since 2000 because of more efficient heating and better insulation of buildings. Electricity consumption per employee grew until 2010 due to increased use of electronic equipment, but it has been decreasing since then due to energy efficiency gains. Since 2000, the average growth in electricity consumption per employee has been 0.3% per year.

Figure 6: Energy and electricity consumption per employee (normal climate)


The main policy framework for the building sector up to 2020 is the 2013 Energy Agreement. In the Energy Agreement, parties set the ambition for the sector to reduce energy consumption by some 110 PJ between 2008 and 2020. This reduction should mainly be realised by renovating existing residential buildings. The renovation should be such that energy performance is increased by two steps on the energy label scale. In addition, the energy performance of new buildings should be improved so that as from 2020, new buildings will be nearly energy-neutral.

In the Climate Agreement, the parties agreed to reduce emissions by buildings by 3.4 Mton CO2-eq. in 2030 compared to the reference scenario. Measures have been proposed in order to renovate 50,000 dwellings annually by 2021 and up to 200,000 dwellings before 2030. Local governments will lead this with a neighbourhood or ‘block-by-block’ approach. Financing possibilities will be improved as well, such as the possibility to couple loans to buildings and the creation of a revolving fund for heat measures (‘warmtefonds’).

A few measures with high impact in the built environment are described in the table below.

Table 2: Sample of policies and measures implemented in the building sector

MeasuresDescriptionExpected savings, impact evaluationMore information available
Energy performance standardsIncreased energy Performance over years in the Building Decree. New buildings need to be nearly energy-neutral as of 2020 (2018 for central government buildings). As of July 2018, connection to the gas grid is in principle no longer allowed when awarding building permits for new dwellings.High impactLink
Mandatory reporting on taken energy savings measures (Informatieplicht)By July 2019, companies needed to report on which energy savings measures they had implemented. They must continue to do so every four years in future.High impactLink
Changes to the Home Evaluation SystemThe energy label of a social house has an impact on the (maximum) rentHigh impactLink
Source: MURE


The shares of the three modes of transport with the largest energy use have remained quite stable over time. Of these, only energy consumption by air traffic increased (by 3 percent points). Air traffic in the Netherlands is almost entirely international. The share of water transport grew from 1.9% to 2.3%.

Figure 7: Split of the transport energy consumption by mode


Changes of the shares of different modes of passenger transport have been limited. The traffic by car (measured in passenger-km) decreased from 83.5% to 82.6% (in total passenger traffic), rail increased from 10% to 11.4%, and bus decreased from 6.6% to 6%.

Figure 8: Share of transport modes in passenger traffic


The changes in shares of goods transport are a little larger. Road traffic decreased from 50 to 47% (in total freight traffic), domestic water transport increased from 45 to 47% and rail transport from 5 to 6%.

Figure 9: Share of modes in freight traffic


Energy consumption of transport has increased by 9.2% since 2000. The different developments behind it explain this. On one hand, the increasing traffic of passengers and freight contributed to increase the consumption by 2.8 Mtoe. This trend is mostly counterbalanced by energy savings (-2.0 Mtoe) and modal shift (-0.3 Mtoe) with a shift from cars to public transport and from trucks to rail and water transport for freight. There have been important increasing structural effects ('Others').

Figure 10: Main drivers of the energy consumption variation in transport


In the 2013 Energy Agreement, the ambition was to limit CO2 emissions to 25 Mton CO2 by 2030. One of the adopted measures was to promote electric vehicles by developing the consumer market and the EV infrastructure as well as initiating innovation projects. By 2025, 50% of newly sold cars should be electric.

The Climate Agreement contains new ambitions and measures for the period up to 2030, relating to sustainable fuels, non-emission vehicles (100% of newly sold cars by 2030), switching to more sustainable modalities (e.g. from car to bicycle) and sustainable logistics (e.g. introduction of a kilometre tariff for trucks, zero-emission zones in cities and an aviation tax).

The most important measures for the transport sector are described in the table below.

Table 3: Policies and measures into force in the transport sector

MeasuresDescriptionExpected savings, impact evaluationMore information available
Fiscal and taxation measuresMotor Vehicle Tax/Private Car and Motorcycle Tax, CO2 differentiation, fiscal benefits for zero emission lease carsMedium impactLink
National Agenda on charging infrastructureThe NAL (Nationale Agenda Laadinfrastructuur) is a multi-year policy agenda, supported by a broad coalition of parties, formulating ambitions and planned actions. The ambition is that the charging infrastructure will not form an obstacle in deployment of electric transport. The agenda includes actions on infrastructure coverage, strategic extension (before actual demand emerges), accessible information on locations and tariffs, smart charging infrastructure etc.Medium impact
EU CO2 emissions performance standardsCO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.High impactLink
Heavy goods vehicle chargeAs of 2023 the government intends to introduce a levy on truck traffic. This will be applied to Dutch and foreign trucks of more than 3500 kg. Based on the kilometre distance and roads used. The revenues will be used for innovation towards more sustainable road traffic. Relevant parties will be involved in decisions on re-investing the revenues.Medium impact
Source: MURE


The largest energy consumers in the manufacturing industry are chemicals (50%), steel (17%) and food industry (15%). The largest variation in energy consumption over the last few years has occurred in industry, which was due to the crisis of 2008.

Figure 11: Final energy consumption by branch

Source: ODYSSEE, steel including blast furnaces

The steel industry efficiency decreased considerably in 2009 after improvements since 2000 (2%/year until 2007). This was due to lower production and equipment utilization. After 2010, efficiency has deteriorated (by 1.6%/year) because of a shift to higher quality steel which requires more energy per ton. In the paper industry the average efficiency improvement since 2000 has been 2.3%/year.

Figure 12: Unit consumption of energy‐intensive products (toe/t)


Energy consumption of industry has been decreasing by 0.4%/year (-1.1 Mtoe) since 2000 mainly due to energy savings (-6.5 Mtoe). Technical improvements in industry are meanwhile partially offset by the growth in activity and structural changes which tend to increase the consumption (5.2 Mtoe). As a result, the decrease of energy consumption has been limited.

Figure 13: Main drivers of the energy consumption variation in industry


Up to 2020 the long-term voluntary "LTA and LEE" covenants are the main policy measures, besides the EU ETS. The covenants will not be continued after 2020. As a replacement, a national CO2 tax will be introduced. At the same time, the possibilities to subsidise emission reductions in the industrial sector will be expanded (through the SDE++). High impact measures for industry are described in the table below.

Table 4: Policies and measures into force in industry

MeasuresDescriptionExpected savings, impact evaluationMore information available
National CO2 pricing system for industryA national CO2 tax will be introduced, starting in 2021 at €30 per tonne CO2 and increasing to €125–150 per tonne by 2030. The national tax includes the EUA price in the EU ETSHigh impact
Long Term Agreements on energy efficiency with companiesCooperative measures targeting large industryHigh impactLink
MIA/VAMIL Environmental investment allowance/Arbitrary depreciation of environmental investment schemesdeduction schemes from fiscal profits to promote investments in new environmental technologies. It gives a direct financial advantage to companies in the Netherlands that invest in applicable equipment.High impactLink
Source: MURE