Who is Jan Modaal actually and how much do you resemble him? Test it here

Who is Jan Modaal actually and how much do you resemble him? Test it here
Who is Jan Modaal actually and how much do you resemble him? Test it here

Everyone knows him, but no one knows exactly who it is. Why is there so much talk about Jan Modaal, and how much do you resemble this ‘average’ Dutchman? A closer acquaintance with the 53-year-old phenomenon.

Who is Jan Modaal?

‘Jan Modaal will receive a net 91 euros per month in 2023’, the media read on Prinsjesdag. This Jan Modaal is not made of flesh and blood, but it often turns up in the Netherlands. It is a so-called pantonym, a word that refers to something or someone whose name is forgotten or irrelevant.

Jan Modal refers to an employee with an average (modal) income. By the way, modal does not mean the average Dutch income, but the most common. It is therefore a misconception to think that Jan Modaal receives the exact average of all Dutch people in salary. The word ‘modal’ comes from ‘mode’. In statistics, this means the value that occurs most often in a group.

Are you actually above Jan?

Despite the fact that Jan Modaal was created as an economic example, that is not the only thing that characterizes him. Many Dutch people have a lot in common, from what kind of car they drive to how many children they have. Do you look a lot like Jan in the cap, or are you extremely unique? Find out with our Jan Modaal test:

Where does Jan Modaal come from?

Jan Modaal will celebrate his 53rd birthday in 2022. The figure was conceived in 1969 by the Central Planning Bureau (CPB) as part of the first ‘purchasing power picture’. Until the 1970s, it was customary to divide all Dutch people into four pillars: Catholic, Protestant, socialist or liberal. From the 1960s onwards, the so-called ‘depillarization’ ensured that the once well-organized identity structure continued to crumble. By creating Jan Modaal, the Central Planning Bureau tried to sketch an average citizen who was financially recognizable to many Dutch people. The figure is mainly labeled on the basis of finances and income, rather than on social grounds.

Jan Modaal also exists abroad: England has John Smith, in Denmark Morten Menigmand has been created and the Irish have a nice equivalent of Jan Modaal with Sean Citizen. This also applies to Germany, where Otto Normalverbraucher is the most famous ‘resident’ without a heartbeat. Jan Modaal’s Finnish counterpart is called Matti Meikäläinen, which means ‘one of us’. France even has two versions of Jan Modaal with Monsieur Tout-le-monde (Mr. everyone) and Jean Dupont.

What does Jan Modaal earn in 2022?

The gross annual salary of Jan Modaal has been set at 38,000 euros this year. The average Dutch person will earn 3167 euros gross per month this year, which amounts to approximately 2500 euros net (including holiday pay). The average income is published every year by the CPB. As mentioned, that is slightly different from the average income. That is quite a bit higher in the Netherlands, at 43,600 euros, because a number of wealthy outliers raise the average considerably.

On Budget Day it was announced that Jan Modaal’s salary will increase in 2023. Those who earn on average will have 91 euros more net of that next year. Those who earn twice the average (6172.84 euros gross per month) even have 97 euros more at the bottom.

The income of Jan Modaal is also on the rise: in 2017 the modal wage was still 4000 euros less. Due to inflation, this does not mean that Jan Modaal actually has more to spend, on the contrary. The National Institute for Budget Information (Nibud) says it is relieved that the cabinet is introducing a ceiling on the energy price. The increase in the minimum wage from 1 January 2023 is also a step in the right direction. According to Nibud, however, this is not enough to allow Jan Modaal to improve; purchasing power continues to decline.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Jan Modaal resemble Test

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