THE HAGUE - The scale of impending cuts to Dutch development spending is now clear — and they are poised to shake the country’s aid sector for years, writes Devex Senior Reporter Vince Chadwick.

The Netherlands, currently the world’s seventh-largest donor, gave $7.4 billion in aid last year. Now it’s slashing official development assistance, or ODA, as a percentage of gross national income to about 0.46% in 2027 from 0.66% in 2023. The new right-wing coalition has imposed cuts of €300 million in 2025, €500 million in 2026, and €2.4 billion annually from 2027.

Areas of giving are set to change too. Aid has traditionally focused on food security, water management, sexual and reproductive health and rights, security, and the rule of law. But the new government will now add migration to its list of priorities, with an emphasis on keeping refugees in their regions of origin. Meanwhile, conservative parties have made arguments against continuing to focus on sexual health and rights, concerned about imposing Dutch liberal sexual values on other cultures.

One sweetener for aid advocates, however, is the coalition’s plan to cap the amount of ODA spent on housing refugees domestically at 10%, lower (though just barely) than the 11% cap recommended by the Advisory Council on International Affairs. The Netherlands spent 17.7% of its ODA on in-donor refugee costs in 2023, well above the OECD donor average of 13.8%.

But the new government also wants to reduce the number of asylum-seekers who get into the country in the first place. If it fails, the administration might backtrack on the 10% cap for in-donor refugee costs, Paul van den Berg, chief political adviser with the Dutch aid group Cordaid, tells Vince.