Netherlands makes first budget surplus in almost a decade

The Dutch government says it had a budget surplus last year for the first time since the financial crisis in 2008, thanks to lower than expected spending and higher than forecast revenues.

The government said Wednesday in its financial report for 2016 that, as well as a surplus of 2.9 billion euros ($3.2 billion), the national debt of 434 billion euros last year was 32 billion euros lower than the government had earlier calculated.

In another sign of robust recovery, 2016's economic growth of 2.2 percent was the highest since the crisis in 2008.

Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem says, "you could say that our economy last year had the endurance of Tom Dumoulin," the Dutch cyclist who took over the lead of the Giro d'Italia race on Tuesday.