Overall construction activity

In the beginning of 2022, the general outlook for the construction sector looked favourable. However, the war in the Ukraine changed this perspective. High energy prices and trade limitations caused great turmoil in the world economy. In spite of this turmoil, the development of the Dutch construction sector was quite robust. A growth by volume of around 2% and a growth in employment of more than 2% seems to imply that the turbulence in the world economy has bypassed this sector. However, a closer look at some components of the production in the construction sector and the leading indicators of these components clearly show that there has been an underlying influence by the unusual developments in the international markets in 2022. 

The total construction output by volume is expected to contract by 1,5% in 2023. Major factors for this contraction is the decline in granted permits and persistent problems surrounding the nitrogen crisis. New construction in particular will be affected by these problems.  


The total output by volume of residential construction increased by 2% in 2022. The output of new residential construction grew by 2% in 2022, in line with the increase in granted building permits for this type of construction in the previous years. The total number of finished dwellings amounts to 67 000. This was not enough to accommodate the big increase of households. Despite the growth, there are underlying issues creating difficulties for new residential construction. The increase in interest rates, higher building costs, insufficient planned housing capacity and capacity in municipal organisation, and the issues surrounding nitrogen make it more difficult to plan new construction. This initially resulted in a decrease in the number of permits. The output of residential renovation has increased by 3,5% in 2022. High energy prizes and a step up in sustainability programs caused extra incentives to invest in work to make dwellings more energy efficient and sustainable. The output of residential maintenance work grew by 0,5%. 


The expectation is that the total output of residential construction will contract by 0,5% in 2023. The main cause of this contraction is new residential construction; output here is expected to contract by 3,5%. This is in line with the observed decline in granted permits for new residential construction. The output of residential renovation will still benefit from the need to make homes more sustainable; for 2023, this volume output is expected to grow by 3%. Maintenance output will grow by 0,5%.

Non-residential construction

Non-residential construction increased by 5% in 2022. The driving force behind this overall growth was the growth in renovation and remodelling output; this output grew by 9,5%. Especially educational and health-care buildings show a lot of activity in renovation. New non-residential construction also showed a robust growth of 4,5% in 2022. The highest relative growth was realised in the construction of business premises and shops. The construction of offices and logistical buildings decreased in 2022. Following the growth in 2022, the output by volume is expected to contract by 1,5% in 2023. This contraction is concentrated in new non-residential construction output, which will contract by 5% in 2023. Renovation output will increase by 1,5%. 

GDP 2022




Total investment in construction in 2022


Civil engineering

2022 was a difficult years for civil engineering with a contraction of the output by volume by 2,5%. The sharp rise in construction costs in particular means that less production can be realized with the budgets reserved for these projects. New construction and reconstruction saw a decline in output of 3%. There are differences between the different commissioning parties; works commissioned by the national government contracted by 1%. Infrastructural construction output commissioned by local authorities declined by 4,5%. Maintenance output has contracted by 1% in 2022. For 2023, total output is expected to contract by a further 2,5%, with contractions in both new construction & reconstruction, and maintenance. Recently the minister of Infrastructure and Water Management announced that the department has halted plans for new construction projects, partly due to problems surrounding nitrogen emissions blocking the decision making process. The budgets associated will be transferred to renovation projects (e.g., bridges, tunnels and locks, etc.). It is unclear what effect this decision has for the output of 2023.

Prices of construction materials

The prices of most construction materials show a big increase since the first quarter of 2020. Steel showed the biggest price increase, with a zenith in the second quarter of 2022. Cement and bitumen also increased, especially since the start of the war in the Ukraine. 

Per cent variation of investment in real terms of previous year


Number of building permits in residential construction