Kenniscentrum faculteit Digitale Media & Creatieve Industrie

Measuring the Dutch clothing mountain


With this research we made the first step in generating an accurate and complete quantitative assessment of the Dutch apparel sector as a source for sustainability-oriented studies. 

The results of this research indicate that the Dutch consumer buys approximately 46 new clothes annually. The average price of each item is around 16 euro. In any case, we buy less than consumers in other countries in the region such as Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom. We keep approximately 173 clothes in the personal wardrobe, of which 50 have not been worn in the last year and 7 are second-hand. Women, young adults and people living in bigger cities have more clothes than men, older adults and people living in towns and villages. 3 garments per person are discarded in the supply chain (before arriving to consumers) annually. Each Dutch inhabitant throws away approximately 40 clothes per year, 24 of these clothes are thrown away in general household waste and they are therefore incinerated. 5 are collected separately but they are not suitable for reuse, so they can be recycled, 2 are rewearable according to consumers, but not for international second-hand standards; finally, 9 of these garments are suitable for the international second-hand market.

Based on these and other facts, we provide recommendations to reduce the size of the Dutch clothing mountain for consumers, companies, designers, fashion schools, textile collectors and sorters, municipalities, and public policy. Moreover, we suggest promising directions for further research.


HvA (CREATE-IT applied research), MODINT, Saxion, Circle Economy, Sympany, MVO Nederland

Funding source:


12 mei 2020

Project Info

Startdatum 01 jan 2017
Einddatum 01 jun 2017


Irene Maldini
Silvio Lorusso
Laura Duncker