More than 3% of adults (aged 26+) in the Netherlands reported having persistent long-term symptoms after an infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, sometimes lasting several years. This is also known as post-COVID or Long COVID. About 5% of young people aged 12–25 years are experiencing these symptoms. This is evidenced by the latest quarterly research update (December 2023) among young people and adults from the Network for Health Research in Disasters (GOR Network).

Nearly one-quarter of adults and one-fifth of young people who have persistent symptoms after COVID-19 reported feeling very limited in their daily lives as a result. For example, many often feel extreme fatigue. Other symptoms that were frequently reported include memory and concentration problems, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. The severity of symptoms can vary widely from one person to another. Adults often report that they are less able to handle their responsibilities, for example when it comes to the household or their work.

Symptoms sometimes persist for years

Survey participants were also asked to indicate how long their symptoms had persisted after COVID-19. 39% of adults with persistent symptoms indicated that they had been experiencing these effects for 1 to 2 years, while 32% had continued for as long as 2 to 3 years. 30% of young people with persistent symptoms reported that it had been 1 to 2 years, while 9% reported 2 to 3 years.


The survey responses show that 36% of adults with these symptoms had received a post-COVID diagnosis from the GP. 39% of young people with persistent symptoms had also received an official diagnosis from the GP. Another 39% of adults and 44% of young people reported that they themselves or people who know them well suspect that they have post-COVID.

Increase in problems with memory and concentration

New data from GPs accessed through the primary care database maintained by the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (Nivel) shows that the number of adults who visited their GP for memory and concentration problems is still significantly higher than before the pandemic (2019). It is striking to note that this increase mainly occurred in the age group of 24–45 years (a 60% increase compared to 2019). Among older people (75+), the number of GP visits for memory and concentration problems is back to the 2019 level.

Research programme on impact of prolonged crisis

The COVID-19 epidemic caused a crisis that is lasting a long time. Little is known about the impact of slow-moving, long-lasting crises. Over the course of a five-year period (2021-2025), the GOR Network is compiling more knowledge on this topic through Health Research for COVID-19. This network consists of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), local offices of the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs), GGD GHOR (the national umbrella organisation of the GGDs and the Regional Medical Assistance Organisations), the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (Nivel), and ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre. The resulting insights will help policy-makers to take effective measures in response to the current crisis and similar situations in the future.