Dutch women are doing less housework than 10 years ago, men don’t do more

Women are spending less time on housework than they did 10 years ago but men are not doing more, according to new research by the government’s SCP think-tank.

The SCP researched what people did with their time in 2016 and compared that to 2006. It found that on average the Dutch spend 21 hours a week on domestic tasks – or three hours a day. Most of that – two hours a day – was taken up by cooking, tidying up, cleaning and doing the washing. Most of the rest went on shopping.

Looking after children or elderly parents took less than half an hour a day, but families with babies and toddlers spend 14.5 hours looking after their offspring.

Women still spend more than nine hours more a week on domestic duties than men, although the gap has closed. In 2006 women worked 11 more hours on household tasks. But the drop is almost entirely due to women cutting their own hours on cooking, cleaning and looking after children.

SCP researcher Anne Roeter told broadcaster NOS this is due to the use of better domestic appliances and the switch to ordering shopping online.


Women are not using these extra hours to spend more time with their children but on work – the Dutch are now working two hours more a week than they did in 2006.

Dutch working adults work an average of 35 hours a week including commuting times. However, women still largely work part-time and the Netherlands has the greatest proportion of part time workers in Europe.

In essence, not much has changed in 10 years, Roeters said. ‘And that is interesting because it was the time of the economic crisis and the government’s withdrawal from many care duties,’ Roeters said. ‘But little has changed in the way people spend their time, and that means people are more robust than we thought.’

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