73 residents drowned in Netherlands last year, most over age 60

Those in the Netherlands in life threatening danger should immediately dial 112 for emergencies, and anyone suffering from depression or contemplating suicide can call 113 Zelfmoordpreventie at any time by dialing either 113 or 0800-0113, or by visiting 113.nl.

Last year, 73 residents died from accidental drowning in open water or in and around the house in the Netherlands. That is seven less than a year earlier, and well below the 86 average of the past decade, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reported on Tuesday. Most of the victims were over the age of 60. Another 32 people who were not residents of the Netherlands, including tourists and migrant workers, also died in accidental drownings in the country last year.

Older people have been overrepresented in the accidental drowning figures for years. Over the past decade, 45 percent of accidental drownings involved people aged 60 or older. Young children under age 10 are the second most likely group to die from drowning, at 8 percent in the past ten years.

In the past decade, 74 percent of accidental drownings happened in open water like rivers, lakes, ditches, or the sea. Twenty percent occurred in and around the house, for example, in the bathtub.

Between 2013 and 2022, 125 Netherlands residents under the age of 20 drowned. Among them were 29 young people who weren’t born in the Netherlands – five were born elsewhere in Europe and 24 outside Europe. “Converted, the latter figure amounts to about 10 more drownings per thousand inhabitants among young people born outside Europe than among young people of Dutch origin,” CBS said. The risk of drowning is three times higher in young children born in the Netherlands to parents who moved to the country from outside Europe.

CBS also separately recorded drownings due to suicide or a transport accident. Last year, 100 people drowned by suicide, and 39 people drowned after ending up in the water in a transport accident, most often after their car or bicycle crashed into the water.

“For all causes of drowning, there were more male (70 percent) than female victims, and people over 50 (65 percent) are overrepresented,” CBS said.

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