NETHERLANDS - The average age at which Dutch workers retire increased to more than 63 last year, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

The retirement age between 2000 and 2006 was 61 on average, while the official retirement age is 65.

The CBS attributed the increase to a raft of legal changes introduced in 2006 to discourage early retirement.

Over the last five years, the number of workers who retire at 65 has doubled to 30%, it said, while the number of workers retiring before 60 dropped by 22 percentage points to 6%.

At 62.2 years, workers in the building industry and civil service retired the earliest, with employees in healthcare coming second at 62.4 years.

However, people who work in the arts or in the environmental sector - as well as in the agricultural or fishery industries - tend to work until they are almost 65.

Dutch employers and employees have agreed with the government that the official retirement age will increase to 66 in 2020.

Many expect the retirement age to be increased even further to 67 in 2025, as it is now linked with life expectancy.