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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Training ISS premaster Academic Skills: Statistics

Publications, figures and data from the CBS (Statistics Netherlands)

You need numbers to be able to say how big a problem is and what its characteristics are. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and SCP are rich sources for data about the extent of a problem and the trends therein.

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) collects a lot of data on various topics. A large part of that information is made freely available through various media. One way is through publications. The advantage of this is that the data is put into context and the interpretations and conclusions are drawn by experts.

Another form in which the CBS material is made available is StatLine, the CBS database. In StatLine you will find statistical information in the form of tables, texts and graphs. StatLine contains statistics on many social and economic topics. This information can be useful when answering trend questions.

Example: searching for a CBS publication

We are looking for figures in CBS publications:

  • Go to the CBS website
  • From here you can use the search option (magnifying glass) to search for publications, but if you go through the site step by step you will often find different results. We are looking for a publication about "crime and law enforcement":
    • On the homepage in the menu bar you can choose [Labour and income] [economy] [society] [regional] [corporate]
    • Choose Society
    • Choose Security and justice
    • Scroll down the page, at the bottom you will find the CBS publications.


If you are looking for statistics outside the Netherlands, but inside the EU you can search Eurostat.

'Eurostat offers a whole range of important and interesting data that governments, businesses, the education sector, journalists and the public can use for their work and daily life.'

'Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union situated in Luxembourg. Its mission is to provide high quality statistics for Europe. [...] Providing the European Union with statistics at European level that enable comparisons between countries and regions is a key task. [...] Statistics can answer many questions. Is society heading in the direction promised by politicians? Is unemployment up or down?  How many women go to work? How is your country's economy performing compared to other EU Member States?

You can search per theme or with (alphabetical arranged) keywords.

Searching StatLine

There are two search options in StatLine:

  1. you can search by search terms in the search box (top right corner). Pay attention to the date of the last change of the tables you found (in the right-hand column): you can also find tables that are no longer updated.
  2. browse by theme. The information in StatLine is subdivided into a number of themes; these are again subdivided into sub-themes.

StatLine has a Help page with user manuals and (Dutch) demo video's.

Example: searching in StatLine

  • Go to StatLine
  • Use the search option and type: youth

You will see a list of results (since most of the statistics are in Dutch the list with results in English will be much shorter) that you can filter by theme, division or year.
Take note: The CBS often uses different concepts in order to describe a phenomenon, for example  do not search on youth only, but also on children or young people.

Select a table based on the description (theme, year, keywords, changed on, reference period) and see if this contains relevant information for your subject. (if you wish to know more about the statistics or want to download the table make use of the icons in the top right corner).