Business information

Export & import

To get you oriented with doing business in the Netherlands, the following information contains a broad variety of useful facts, figures and observations about Dutch export and import.

Export in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has traditionally always had an open economy and the level of trade with other countries is very significant. According to research carried out by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, the Netherlands earns some 33% of its income from the export of goods and services. In 2015, the value of exports was 81.8% of the Netherlands’ GDP

Fifth-largest exporter of goods

As the fifth-largest exporter of goods in the world, the Netherlands occupies a prominent position when it comes to world trade. In 2015, the Netherlands exported goods worth a total of almost US$ 668 billion, which is about 3.5% of the world’s total exports.

Significant exporter of commercial services

The Netherlands is also a significant exporter of commercial services: exports of commercial services amounted to US$ 189 billion (€ 138 billion) in 2014, which placed the country sixth in the world rankings.

• The Netherlands is the second-largest exporter of agricultural products worldwide, after the United States.

• The role of the Netherlands as a key distribution location is also indicated by the volume of import and export activities. Almost 79% of Dutch exports remain within Europe, especially Western Europe. Germany is easily the Netherlands’ most significant trading partner, followed by Belgium, the United Kingdom and France.

Import in the Netherlands

As well as being a major exporter, the Netherlands also imports large quantities of goods: US$ 507 billion in 2015. With  about 3.1% share of the global total, the country is the eight-largest importer of goods in the world. The Netherlands is also a significant importer of commercial services - imports of commercial services amounted to US$ 157 billion (€ 118 billion) in 2014, which placed the Netherlands seventh in the world rankings.

Import partners

In 2015, 17.2% of all imports into the Netherlands originated in Germany. Almost half of all products purchased by the Netherlands in Germany were related to chemical products and machinery. Of all of the cars imported into the Netherlands, more than 90% came from Europe, particularly Belgium, France and Germany. China (9.1% of total imports of goods) and Belgium (9.8%) were respectively second and third Dutch import partner. In 2015 the value of Dutch imports (of goods) was  US$ 507 billion.