The Netherlands has more prison workers than prisoners (update)

The Netherlands has more prison guards than prisoners, the AD reports on Friday, quoting justice ministry figures.

Currently, there are 9,710 people serving time in jail and 9,914 prison officials, the ministry figures show.

While the bulk of them are guards, the total also includes support staff and trainers such as sports coaches, the AD says.

Civil service union Abvakabo reacted angrily to junior justice minister Fred Teeven’s claims. It says there is a shortage of properly trained guards and claims to have had over 300 complaints about the pressure of work.


The Dutch prison service is in the middle of a major overhaul including prison closures and mergers. The government also wants to introduce more multiple occupancy cells.

Criminologist Jan van Dijk told the NRC the Dutch crime rate has been falling steadily, as it has across the western world.

An example of this is Amsterdam’s Zeedijk and Nieuwmarkt which were a no-go area in 1990, he said. ‘Now you can walk there in complete safety’.