I’ve found a workaround. At first it seemed it would take up more time, but it actually makes everything work smoother and faster due to less swapping and more memory available. This is not a scientific approach and it needs some testing before it works.
In the code, make Excel save the workbook every now and then. I had to loop through a sheet with 360 000 lines and it choked badly. After every 10 000 I made the code save the workbook and now it works like a charm even on a 32-bit Excel.
If you start Task Manager at the same time you can see the memory utilization go down drastically after each save.