Wealthiest in the Netherlands grow wealthier

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On 21 March, professor Bas van Bavel (Economic and Social History) spoke to de Volkskrant regarding the growing wealth of the top wealthiest people in the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, the wealth of the superrich has continued to grow in recent years. “We have been told that wealth distribution would grow more equal as housing prices would increase, yet the decrease of wealth inequality is only marginal,” according to Van Bavel. Wealth clusters in the top layers of society, while half of Dutch household either owns hardly any capital, or is in debt.

Capital return tax

Recently, the capital return tax has been adjusted. This measure assures that larger capital is taxed heavier than smaller capital. “That is an improvement, but income from labour is still four times as heavily taxed as income from wealth, over which you pay 8 to 9 percent tax on average. And in practice, the wealthiest pay even less than that,” Van Bavel says. In order to restore wealth distribution, we have to find a solution to this issue, Van Bavel concludes.

Prof. dr. Bas van Bavel. Foto: Ed van Rijswijk
Prof. dr. Bas van Bavel. Photo: Ed van Rijswijk

Bas van Bavel

Bas van Bavel is a historian and is also program director of Institutions for Open Societies, an interdisciplinary research group focused on the development and growth of open societies around the world.