Research on dating market in The Netherlands: more than 20% had a relationship that started online

Quite some visitors of Dating Insider are coming from abroad. According to my Google Analytics stats of last month, almost 20% of visits was from outside The Netherlands or Belgium. People from overseas have let me know they are interested in the online dating market in Europe, and specifically The Netherlands. Some of them use tools like Google Translate to convert content from this site to their own language. To make life easier for readers from abroad, I will start an experiment: writing blogposts in English. This is the first one.

One out of five people in The Netherlands had a relationship that started online. That is one of the outcomes from an extensive research commissioned by dating site Lexa is part of Meetic since 2006, and is the largest Dutch datingsite. An independent agency questioned 6500 people, single and non-single, to find out how the Dutch meet their partner nowadays.

The Dutch have always been relatively open to online dating. Of all people questioned that were in a relationship that started after 2001, almost 23 percent said they met their current partner online. Also, 16 percent said they met someone they’ve been in a relationship with online, before they were in their current relationship. In total, 21% of all people in a relationship met their current and/or a previous partner on a dating site.

Sites like,,, and many others are most popular to find a partner online, the research tells us. People that met their current partner online most often knew each other from a dating site (53.5%). Also, chat rooms were quite often mentioned as a place were couples first met (17.8%). Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are less popular places to find a partner (7.6%), but are getting more en vogue.

The latter is particularly interesting. As you can read in my book, social media increasingly often play an important role in the dating and mating process of Dutch singles. The reasons are quite obvious. Facebook is used by 60% of all people in The Netherlands and they spend more time watching the blue-white social network than any other site. The perceived threshold to approach someone interesting with a personal message or wallpost is relatively low on Facebook. Much lower than subscribing to a dating website and completing long subscription forms. The barriers for entering dating sites are relatively high; a possible threat for entrepreneurs in the dating industry that have to come up with smarter ways to attract a new generation of singles that is less patient. More and more bachelors are interested in taking a shortcut to their next date. Casual dating and flirt sites like Badoo, are therefore among the fastest growing in The Netherlands.

Which of the following BEST describes how you met your current partner online? (married or co-habitation and
met a partner online, n=837)
Through an online dating / relationship website 53.5%
Through a social networking website (e.g. Facebook) 7.6%
Through an online discussion board / forum / blog (not linked to online dating) 8.6%
Through a chat room (not linked to online dating) 17.8%
Other 12.6%
Total 100.0%