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Dutch rivers, lakes and the sea claimed 137 lives last year

Dutch rivers, lakes and the sea claimed 137 lives last year

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Last year, 137 people drowned in Dutch lakes, rivers and in the sea, figures from statistics agency CBS have shown. Of them, 107 were officially resident in the Netherlands and 30 were either tourists or not registered as living here, the CBS said.

The figures are up sharply on 2019, when 76 residents died in drowning accidents. Over half the victims were at least 60 years old and people from an immigrant background are four times more likely to drown than their Dutch counterparts, the CBS said.

Two in three drownings take place in open water, such as lakes, canals, ponds, ditches or the sea. The total number of drownings in the Netherlands has gone down significantly since the 1950s, the CBS said, when between 400 to 500 people perished each year.

Of them 266 were young children. That number went down to seven in 2020. However, despite better supervision at recreational swimming sites the number of children drowning has not gone down further in the last few years.

Doctors warned earlier this month that the lack of swimming lessons during the lockdown may increase the number of drownings this summer.


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