Since the year 2000, healthcare expenditure in the Netherlands has seen a meteoric rise and as a result the Netherlands now has the highest level of healthcare expenditure (expressed as a percentage of national income) of all European countries. Whether this has led to better population health outcomes is, however, unclear. The only outcome for which there is some evidence is life expectancy at birth, which has probably improved as a result of more and better healthcare. Unfortunately, despite very high levels of healthcare spending, current Dutch life expectancy is not among the best in Europe, partly because of a relatively high prevalence of smoking and insufficient tobacco control measures. More health gains could have been achieved if greater priority had been given to prevention.