Background: No data have so far been published concerning the extent of the problem of alcohol-related liver diseases in The Netherlands.
Methods: Figures on alcohol consumption and admission and mortality rates due to alcohol-related liver disorders in The Netherlands in 1994 were obtained from various sources and the data were considered in a historical perspective. Special attention was paid to regional differences.
Results: The per capita alcohol consumption in 1994 in The Netherlands was 86 litres of beer, 16 litres of wine and 1.8 litres of pure alcohol as spirits. The total alcohol per capita consumption of individuals upwards of 15 years of age showed a decrease from 11.7 litres in 1975 to 9.7 litres in 1994. In the same period the estimated number consuming more than 10 cl pure alcohol (8 units) per day remained at about 180,000. The number of general hospital admissions as a result of alcohol-related liver disease as well as the number of deaths because of cirrhosis has hardly changed since 1985. In 1994, 657 men and 407 women were admitted due to alcohol-related liver disease, and 269 men and 125 women died from an alcohol-related liver disorder. The admission and mortality rates from alcohol-related liver disease differed markedly among the various provinces of The Netherlands.