With 16 million inhabitants, and a geographical size one third of Ohio, the Netherlands ranks as the 16th largest economy in the world. In terms of GDP per capita, the Netherlands is in the top 10 countries world wide, based on high levels of labour productivity and strong labour participation rates. As a small country, the Dutch economy is highly open, dependent on foreign trade and investment.
Gateway to Europe
For companies across the world – and American firms in particular – the Netherlands serves as a Gateway to Europe. Rotterdam, one of the world largest harbours, not only constitutes a crucial hub for inward and outward transportation to Europe, but also has a high density of transportation related industrial activity. The airport of Amsterdam Schiphol is of the world’s highest standards, and strongly contributes to the attractiveness of the Netherlands as a place to do business. With an internationally favourable corporate tax level and a flexible and well educated labour force with excellent language skills, the Netherlands is an open, and hospitable country for investment.
Vibrant industrial structure
The Netherlands has a diversified and vibrant industrial structure. With only a small surface, the Netherlands nevertheless stands as an important agricultural producer, and exporter. Dutch dairy products, such as cheese, are famous all over the world, as are the tulips and other flowers produced and traded in the Netherlands. As in the US, the services sector in the Netherlands is of increasing importance, from high quality commercial services, to financial services, media and logistics. This strong services backbone enforces the attractiveness of the Netherlands for the location of headquarters as well as after sales services and distribution. The Netherlands has a strong and internationally well developed industrial economy. From chemicals to life sciences, from food to nano technology, Dutch multinational companies are well known all over the world for the quality of their output.
Water is a sector of particular importance to the Netherlands. With 70% of its population below sea level, the Dutch have learned how to deal with water. Until this very day that is translated in strong Dutch expertise in areas as flood protection, urban and spatial design that includes water, water purification and so on. Also here in the US, Dutch-American contacts on water are important and mutually beneficial. After the hurricanes Katrina and Rita in New Orleans, a successful dialogue between the US and the Netherlands has evolved, that currently is being extended to other parts of the US.
The Netherlands is a major producer and exporter of natural gas. The returns of gas exports have been used to strengthen the Netherlands physical as well as knowledge infrastructure. Today, the Netherlands plays a central role in the European gasmarket as a hub for gas transportation. Also, in renewable energy the Netherlands has a strong track record as well as strong ambitions. By 2020 20% of energy consumption should be based on renewable energy. IN areas from biofuels, solar as well as wind energy, this has led to strong innovation efforts from both companies and research institutes. Being famous for its windmills, in the years to come the Netherlands ambitions will be visible in its off shore wind energy production.
The Netherlands and the European Union
The Netherlands is one of the founding fathers of the European Union. Today, economic ties with its European neighbours are strong and well developed. The currency of the Netherlands is the euro, which it adopted together with a number of other European countries at the beginning of this century. The adoption of the euro only strengthened the mutually beneficial interrelatedness of the European economies.
For more information visit
- Statistics Netherlands (Dutch and English)
- Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (Dutch and English)
- Statistics Netherlands' articles on recent economic and demographic trends in the Netherlands (Dutch and English)
- OECD reports and statistics on the Netherlands (English)
- CIA economy page
- Consult www.nationmaster.com (English) for comparative statistical information on world countries