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Netherlands — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in the Netherlands is 510,0001

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in the Netherlands is 3.91 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, the Netherlands ranked at No. 782

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, the Netherlands ranked at No. 1121

Proportion of Households with Firearms

ChartIn the Netherlands, the percentage of households with one or more guns is reported to be

2004/05: 4.8%3
1999/2003: 1.7%
1995/98: 2.3%
1992: 1.9%4
1992/94: 2.0%3
1989: 2.0%

Proportion of Households with Rifles

In the Netherlands, the percentage of households with one or more rifles is reported to be

1992: 0.7%4

Proportion of Households with Shotguns

In the Netherlands, the percentage of households with one or more shotguns is reported to be

1992: 0.0%4

Proportion of Households with Handguns

ChartIn the Netherlands, the percentage of households with one or more handguns is reported to be

2004/05: 1.3%3
1999/2003: 0.8%
1995/98: 0.9%
1992/94: 1.4%3 4
1989: 0.9%

Number of Registered Firearms

The number of registered guns in the Netherlands is reported to be 330,0001

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

The rate of registered guns per 100 people in the Netherlands is 2.025

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in the Netherlands there are estimated to be 85,000 to 125,0006

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in the Netherlands there are estimated to be 0.775 illicit firearms per 100 people

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of the Netherlands are reported to have 691,0857 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in the Netherlands are reported to have 59,1178 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2011: 969 10
2010: 7611
2009: 939 10
2008: 789 10 12
2007: 82
2006: 82
2005: 104
2004: 1009 10 13
2003: 1049 10 13 12
2002: 1059 10 13
2001: 1149 10 13 12
2000: 1159 10 13
1999: 1319 10 14 12
1998: 1159 10 13 12
1997: 118
1996: 128

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.585
2010: 0.4611
2009: 0.565
2008: 0.48
2007: 0.50
2006: 0.50
2005: 0.64
2004: 0.61
2003: 0.64
2002: 0.65
2001: 0.71
2000: 0.72
1999: 0.83
1998: 0.73
1997: 0.76
1996: 0.82

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 14515
2011: 14315 16
2010: 14415 17
2009: 154
2008: 150
2007: 143
2006: 128
2005: 174
2004: 191
2003: 202
2002: 195
2001: 202
2000: 180
1999: 20317
1998: 176
1997: 20817 18
1996: 211
1995: 299

Rate of Homicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.915
2011: 0.915 16
2010: 0.915 17
2009: 0.9
2008: 0.9
2007: 0.9
2006: 0.8
2005: 1.1
2004: 1.2
2003: 1.3
2002: 1.2
2001: 1.3
2000: 1.1
1999: 1.317
1998: 1.1
1997: 1.317 18
1996: 1.4
1995: 1.9

Gun Homicides

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual firearm homicides total

2011: 499 15
2010: 33
2009: 419 15 17
2008: 37
2007: 39
2006: 31
2005: 54
2004: 539 17
2003: 569
2002: 63
2001: 69
2000: 66
1999: 75
1998: 58
1997: 63
1996: 71

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.299 5
2010: 0.20
2009: 0.259 5 17
2008: 0.23
2007: 0.24
2006: 0.19
2005: 0.33
2004: 0.339 17
2003: 0.359
2002: 0.39
2001: 0.43
2000: 0.41
1999: 0.47
1998: 0.37
1997: 0.40
1996: 0.46
1994: 0.3619

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

ChartIn the Netherlands, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm is reported to be

2011: 34%15 16
2010: 23%
2009: 27%
2008: 25%
2007: 28%
2006: 24%
2005: 31%
2004: 29.9%17

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual handgun homicides total

2010: 19
2009: 2
2008: 1
2007: 2
2006: 1
2005: 5
2004: 4
2003: 5
2002: 3
2001: 1
2000: 1
1999: 2
1998: 3
1997: 4
1996: 3

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of handgun homicide per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.019
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.01
2006: 0.01
2005: 0.03
2004: 0.02
2003: 0.03
2002: 0.02
2001: 0.01
2000: 0.01
1999: 0.01
1998: 0.02
1997: 0.03
1996: 0.02

Long Gun Homicides

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual long gun homicides total

2011: 19
2010: 1
2009: 1
2008: 1
2003: 2
2002: 1
2000: 1
1998: 1
1997: 1

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of long gun homicide per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.019
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.01
2008: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.01
2000: 0.01
1998: 0.01
1997: 0.01

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual gun homicides (other) total

2011: 489
2010: 31
2009: 38
2008: 35
2007: 37
2006: 30
2005: 49
2004: 49
2003: 49
2002: 59
2001: 68
2000: 64
1999: 73
1998: 54
1997: 58
1996: 68

Rate of Gun Homicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of gun homicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.299
2010: 0.19
2009: 0.23
2008: 0.21
2007: 0.23
2006: 0.18
2005: 0.30
2004: 0.30
2003: 0.30
2002: 0.37
2001: 0.42
2000: 0.40
1999: 0.46
1998: 0.34
1997: 0.37
1996: 0.44

Suicides (any method)

In the Netherlands, annual suicides by any means total

1999: 1,51714

Rate of Suicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

1999: 9.3914
1994: 10.3020

Gun Suicides

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual firearm suicides total

2011: 4710
2010: 40
2009: 52
2008: 40
2007: 42
2006: 50
2005: 49
2004: 45
2003: 46
2002: 39
2001: 43
2000: 47
1999: 51
1998: 53
1997: 50
1996: 55

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.2810
2010: 0.24
2009: 0.32
2008: 0.24
2007: 0.26
2006: 0.31
2005: 0.3
2004: 0.28
2003: 0.28
2002: 0.24
2001: 0.27
2000: 0.3
1999: 0.32
1998: 0.34
1997: 0.32
1996: 0.35
1994: 0.3121

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual handgun suicides total

2011: 810
2010: 1
2009: 7
2008: 6
2007: 3
2006: 9
2005: 19
2004: 11
2003: 8
2002: 11
2001: 6
2000: 12
1999: 6
1998: 9
1997: 15
1996: 8

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of handgun suicide per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.0510
2010: 0.01
2009: 0.04
2008: 0.04
2007: 0.02
2006: 0.06
2005: 0.12
2004: 0.07
2003: 0.05
2002: 0.07
2001: 0.04
2000: 0.08
1999: 0.04
1998: 0.06
1997: 0.10
1996: 0.05

Long Gun Suicides

ChartIn the Netherlands, the number of long gun suicides is

2011: 310
2010: 3
2009: 6
2008: 3
2007: 3
2006: 5
2005: 6
2004: 6
2003: 9
2002: 3
2000: 1
1999: 5
1998: 3
1997: 2
1996: 7

Rate of Long Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of long gun suicide per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.0210
2010: 0.02
2009: 0.04
2008: 0.02
2007: 0.02
2006: 0.03
2005: 0.04
2004: 0.04
2003: 0.06
2002: 0.02
2000: 0.01
1999: 0.03
1998: 0.02
1997: 0.01
1996: 0.05

Gun Suicides (Other)

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual gun suicides (other) total

2011: 3610
2010: 36
2009: 39
2008: 31
2007: 36
2006: 36
2005: 24
2004: 28
2003: 29
2002: 25
2001: 37
2000: 34
1999: 40
1998: 41
1997: 33
1996: 40

Rate of Gun Suicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of gun suicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.2210
2010: 0.22
2009: 0.24
2008: 0.19
2007: 0.22
2006: 0.22
2005: 0.15
2004: 0.17
2003: 0.18
2002: 0.15
2001: 0.23
2000: 0.21
1999: 0.25
1998: 0.26
1997: 0.21
1996: 0.26

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2012: 122
2010: 113
2004: 2
2003: 1
2002: 3
2001: 1
2000: 2
1999: 5
1998: 3
1997: 3
1996: 1

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.0113
2004: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2002: 0.02
2001: 0.01
2000: 0.01
1999: 0.03
1998: 0.02
1997: 0.02
1996: 0.01
1994: 0.0123

Unintentional Handgun Deaths

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual unintentional shooting deaths by handgun total

2002: 213
2001: 1
1999: 1
1997: 1
1996: 1

Rate of Unintentional Handgun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by handgun per 100,000 population is

2002: 0.0113
2001: 0.01
1999: 0.01
1997: 0.01
1996: 0.01

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual unintentional shooting deaths by long gun total

2010: 113
2002: 1

Rate of Unintentional Long Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by long gun per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.0113
2002: 0.01

Unintentional Gun Deaths (Other)

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual unintentional shooting deaths by firearm (other) total

2004: 213
2003: 1
2000: 2
1999: 4
1998: 3
1997: 2

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by firearm (other) per 100,000 population is

2004: 0.0113
2003: 0.01
2000: 0.01
1999: 0.03
1998: 0.02
1997: 0.01

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2010: 212
2008: 1
2007: 1
2006: 1
2005: 1
2003: 1
2001: 1
1999: 014
1998: 112
1997: 2
1996: 1

Rate of Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.0112
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.01
2006: 0.01
2005: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2001: 0.01
1999: 0.0014
1998: 0.0112
1997: 0.01
1996: 0.01
1994: 0.0324

Handgun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual deaths by handgun in which the cause remains undecided total

2010: 112
2006: 1
1997: 1

Rate of Handgun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of unknown-cause handgun deaths per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.0112
2006: 0.01
1997: 0.01

Gun Deaths (Other) from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the Netherlands, annual deaths by firearm (other) in which the cause remains undecided total

2010: 112
2008: 1
2007: 1
2005: 1
2003: 1
2001: 1
1998: 1
1997: 1
1996: 1

Rate of Gun Death (Other) from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn the Netherlands, the annual rate of unknown-cause gun deaths (other) per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.0112
2008: 0.01
2007: 0.01
2005: 0.01
2003: 0.01
2001: 0.01
1998: 0.01
1997: 0.01
1996: 0.01

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In the Netherlands, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is prohibited25 26

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, the Netherlands was ranked 'small'27

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In the Netherlands, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from the Netherlands is reported by Customs to be US$2,094,12237 (2011)

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, the Netherlands was categorized as 'minor'38

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In the Netherlands, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law39 29 30 32 33 34 35

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to the Netherlands is reported by Customs to be US$55,279,28537 (2011)40 41 42 43

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in the Netherlands is moderate44

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In the Netherlands, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law45 46 47

Transparency of Small Arms Transfers

ChartIn its annual Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, the Small Arms Survey compares public reporting among major arms exporting nations on a scale from strong to weak (25 to zero). In recent years, the Netherlands scored

2014: 19.2548
2013: 19.2549
2012: 18.5050
2011: 17.0051
2010: 17.0052
2009: 16.5053
2008: 17.0054
2007: 16.5055
2006: 16.2556
2005: 17.7557
2004: 13.0058

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in the Netherlands is categorised as restrictive59

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in the Netherlands includes the Wet Wapens en Munitie 1997 [Arms and Ammunition Act],60 61 the Council Directive of 18 June 1991 on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons,62 63 the European Union Firearms Regulation of 2012 and the Common Position on the Control of Arms Brokering of 200364

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in the Netherlands are regulated by the Ministry of Justice and the local Commissioner of Police,65 and the European Commission63

Right to Possess Firearms

In the Netherlands, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law66 67 68

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In the Netherlands, civilians are not allowed to possess automatic and 'Category II' firearms, incendiary and armour-piercing ammunition69 70 71 72 73

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In the Netherlands, private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited70 69 74 72 73 16

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In the Netherlands, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is prohibited70 69 74 75 76 73

Regulation of Handguns

In the Netherlands, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted under licence70 72 75 76 73 16

Law Regulates Long Guns

In the Netherlands, civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law16

Gun Ownership and Possession

In the Netherlands, only licensed gun owners69 77 78 72 75 16 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in the Netherlands are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example hunting, sports shooting, collection77 79 69 80

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in the Netherlands is 18 years77 69 80

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in the Netherlands must pass a background check which considers criminal77 80 16 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In the Netherlands, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are not required68

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in the Netherlands does not stipulate68 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In the Netherlands, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is not required68 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In the Netherlands, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every one year77

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in the Netherlands are permitted to possess any number of firearms68

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in the Netherlands are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition68 81

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In the Netherlands, the law requires82 83 84 that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register

Gun Dealer Record Keeping

In the Netherlands, licensed firearm dealers are required84 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In the Netherlands, State agencies are required83 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In the Netherlands, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited26

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In the Netherlands, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful26 85 86 76

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In the Netherlands, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined68

Regulation of Gun Shows

In the Netherlands, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated68 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in the Netherlands do not include68 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Dealer

Firearm regulations in the Netherlands do not include68 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in the Netherlands include87 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in the Netherlands include88 89 87 30 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In the Netherlands, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law90 91 92

Firearm Tracing

In the Netherlands, state authorities carry out93 92 84 94 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In the Netherlands, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not68 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In the Netherlands, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is prohibited95 16

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In the Netherlands, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is prohibited95 16

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In the Netherlands, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm96 is no more than 9 months in prison or a fine97

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

In the Netherlands, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be

2013/16: 24,00098

Small Arms Destroyed

ChartIn the Netherlands, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be

1994/96: 143,63299
1991/2007: 143,632100

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In the Netherlands, it is state policy101 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

European Union

As a member of the European Union, the Netherlands is bound by the provisions of the ‘EU Firearms Directive’ – the 2007 Legislative Resolution on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons of the European Parliament102 103

European Union Export Reporting

Under the European Union Common Position on Arms Exports, the Netherlands is bound to declare its transfers of military technology and equipment. Independent monitoring provides detailed comparisons of arms export reporting compliance across EU member states, and records that the Netherlands have submitted one or more national reports104 on its arms transfers

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development

The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, a diplomatic initiative aimed at addressing the interrelations between armed violence and development, was signed in 2006105 by the Netherlands.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified106 by the Netherlands

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has been signed and ratified107 by the Netherlands

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, the Netherlands committed to a consensus decision of the United Nations to adopt, support and implement the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects108

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored the Netherlands against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 54109 110 111 112 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, the Netherlands have submitted one or more national reports113 114 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In the Netherlands, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated115 114

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In the Netherlands, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated115

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of the Netherlands submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent115 116 114

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated114 by the Netherlands to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, the Netherlands have declared117 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, the Netherlands have been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945118

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists119 the Netherlands as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

For a profile of conflict in the Netherlands, select the Link icon to open an external web page from the UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia at Uppsala University

Global Peace Index

To see where the Netherlands ranks, select the Link icon to open an external web page at the Global Peace Index


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van Dijk, Jan, John van Kesteren and Paul Smit.2007.‘Ownership of Firearms and Handguns in Countries and Main Cities (percentages): 1989-2005 ICVS and 2005 EU ICS.’ Criminal Victimisation in International Perspective: Key findings from the 2004-2005 ICVS and EU ICS.Vienna:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime / UNODC,1 January. (Q11810)Full Citation

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