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Figures from the Chamber of Commerce give a distorted picture of the taxi sector.

The number of taxi companies in the Netherlands has increased significantly over the past five years. The country currently has 14.356 taxi companies, which represents an increase of almost 30 percent, according to data from the Chamber of Commerce. This growth is mainly attributable to the number of self-employed people without employees (self-employed persons) in the sector, which has increased by 43 percent. Nearly eight thousand taxi companies are now run by self-employed people, which makes up more than half of the total.

There has been an increase in the number of new taxi companies, especially in the last two years. This is especially true for the province of North Holland, where almost half of the taxi companies (7.021) are located. The concentration in this region is probably due to the high activity of taxis in Amsterdam and around Schiphol.

Interestingly, only 1,3 percent of taxi companies are affiliated with the trade association KNV Healthcare Transport and Taxi, despite the fact that Koninklijk Nederlands Vervoer represents almost 80 percent of the passenger transport market in the Netherlands. Many new taxi companies, especially the self-employed, do not seem to attach importance to joining a trade association. Many of them are self-employed drivers who drive for platforms such as Uber and Bolt.

Also the UWV contributed growth by facilitating the obtaining of a taxi pass, which gave more people the opportunity to work as a taxi driver, either independently or with a regular taxi company. Uber is bigger than ever, despite negative publicity from unions criticizing the company. However, customers remain positive due to the convenience of the app and the transparency of the prices, despite the fact that these prices can increase significantly during high demand.

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taxi stand Schiphol
Photo: © Pitane Blue - Schiphol taxi stand

However, the figures from the Chamber of Commerce give a distorted picture of the sector. The high number of registered companies does not necessarily mean that there are more taxis or drivers. If these self-employed people were to become employed, the number of companies would decrease, but the number of drivers would remain the same.

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A frequent taxi user from the capital noticed that there are more and more taxis driving around with drivers who speak barely intelligible Dutch. This phenomenon has been happening in the big cities for some time. In Flanders, legislation has even been introduced that requires taxi drivers to show a certificate of Dutch B1 language level within two years of obtaining their driver's pass. This period has now been extended to June 30, 2025.

The rise of platforms such as Uber and Bolt has also contributed to the attractiveness of the taxi profession as an additional income. Many self-employed people see it as an opportunity to work flexibly and be their own boss, although the practice is often different and in reality they work under sham constructions that differ little from salaried employment. Outside the official taxi zones, there are often independent drivers who loudly shout “Taxi, Taxi” to attract customers, which unfortunately succeeds, despite repeated warnings not to use these unofficial taxis.

The growth in the number of taxi companies in the Netherlands reflects the changes in the taxi market, driven by technological innovations and changing work structures. As the industry continues to evolve, regulations and policies surrounding taxi companies and drivers will likely also continue to evolve to keep up with this dynamic market.

regional differences

The number of taxi companies in the Netherlands shows large regional differences, according to recent figures from the Chamber of Commerce. North Holland takes the cake with no fewer than 7.347 registered taxi companies. This province, with Amsterdam as its largest city, is the epicenter of the taxi industry in the Netherlands. South Holland comes in second with 3.436 taxi companies, which can partly be explained by the presence of large cities such as Rotterdam and The Hague.

There are 956 registered taxi companies in Brabant, which is considerably less than in the Randstad, but still a significant number. Utrecht, which is also part of the Randstad, has 984 taxi companies. This number reflects the dynamic demand for taxis in the provincial capital and surrounding areas.

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Flevoland, the youngest province in the Netherlands, has 722 taxi companies. Although this seems relatively high for a province with a lower population density, the proximity of Amsterdam and the growth of cities such as Almere and Lelystad may provide an explanation.

There are 366 taxi companies active in Limburg. This province benefits from the presence of tourist attractions such as Maastricht, which stimulates the demand for taxi services. Gelderland, with cities such as Arnhem and Nijmegen, has 589 registered taxi companies, reflecting the diverse economic activities and vastness of the province.

Overijssel, with 214 taxi companies, and Drenthe with 90, show a more moderate picture, which fits the less urban and densely populated nature of these provinces. Groningen and Friesland, both in the north of the Netherlands, have 183 and 167 taxi companies respectively. These numbers are in line with the demographic and economic characteristics of these regions.

The situation in Zeeland Flanders is remarkable, where only 29 taxi companies are registered. This low number can be attributed to its geographical location and relatively low population density. This region, which geographically belongs more to Flanders than to the rest of the Netherlands, therefore has a limited demand for taxi services.

These figures not only illustrate the varying demand for taxi services across the country, but also provide insight into the economic and demographic differences between provinces. In busy, urban areas such as the Randstad, the demand for taxi services is obviously higher. The presence of tourist hotspots and economic centers also plays a crucial role in the number of registered taxi companies.

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