The number of Dutch people with a brain disorder continues to rise

Photo: Brain Foundation

The number of Dutch people suffering from a stroke, dementia or a mental illness continues to rise. The Netherlands Brain Foundation has established this on the basis of recently released data from the primary care register (NIVEL) for 2021. This is in line with the 2040 picture of the number of people with a brain disorder outlined by RIVM in 2018. This increase has a major impact on the entire society.

The outlook for 2040 regarding brain disorders that RIVM published in 2018 revealed a worrying trend. In the year 2040, RIVM expects that more than 1 million Dutch people will suffer from (the consequences of) a stroke, Parkinson’s disease or dementia. Based on the actual number of reports of these three brain disorders in the primary care registry (NIVEL) over 2021, 372,000 Dutch people with a stroke, Parkinson’s disease and dementia are registered. That is already an increase and if we do nothing, it will only increase in the coming years. This is a worrying picture of the future, all the more so because Parkinson’s disease, dementia and stroke are only three of the hundreds of brain disorders that occur.

Major strides have already been made in the field of brain research in recent years, so it is expected that fewer Dutch people will die from the consequences of a brain disorder in 2040. However, more people will have to learn to live with the consequences of a brain disorder. All this ensures that society as a whole – patients, relatives, informal carers and healthcare professionals – will be more confronted with brain disorders and their consequences.

Invest in the future

It is therefore very important to focus on a future without brain disorders, by making room for groundbreaking solutions that help prevent, slow down or cure brain disorders. Currently, more than four million Dutch people (4,261,700) have a brain disorder, half of which have a mental disorder (2,187,600). This costs society 30 billion euros annually in healthcare costs. Based on the projections from the foresight study about the number of people with a brain disorder, the expectation is that this amount will only increase in the coming years. We must continue to invest in research, education and put the importance of our brains on the public and political agenda.

Collection week of the Brain Foundation

Help the Brain Foundation and make a case for a future in which everyone has a healthy brain. Give to the collector during the collection week from Monday 30 January to Saturday 4 February 2023*. More than 19,000 volunteers go door to door with the collection box* and more than 10,000 people have an online collection box to collect money for all those people who are dealing with a brain disorder. Indicate to the (online) collector or to:


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