Chemical industry

This main section contains 4 sections:

Holland is one of Europe's leading suppliers of chemical products and services. Important raw materials are available or easy to supply while an extensive transportation network provides access to Europe and beyond.

Developing smart materials and solutions

The Dutch Chemical Industry works methodically to find solutions for society’s great challenges, and, more specifically, focuses on five key areas: Healthcare, Food Security, Energy, Transport, and Climate and Resources. As many of these challenges are multi-disciplinary in character, the Chemical sector works cooperatively across many other sectors. The Chemical sector in the Netherlands provides a platform where various stakeholders can connect with each other and co-create new solutions. Like other industries the world over, it has to deal with increasing scarcity of natural resources, as they dwindle due to over-consumption, or are simply scarce. The Dutch see this as a challenge to be embraced – one that can deliver opportunities - and as a catalyst for the transition to greener, more sustainable chemicals. This means that sustainable and environmentally friendly source materials should be utilised to develop smart materials and solutions, and new processes developed that reduce the production of unwanted by-products and waste materials.

5 Reasons why the Dutch chemicals industry is making a significant contribution

1. Leading chemical products and services

The chemicals industry is one of the leading business sectors in the Netherlands, making a significant contribution to the economy. The Netherlands is one of Europe's leading suppliers of chemical products and services. Important raw materials are available or easy to supply while an extensive transportation network provides access to Europe and beyond. In addition,  the Dutch chemical industry is strongly focused on becoming more sustainable.

2. Lots of important chemical companies are established here

The Netherlands hosts 16 of the world’s top 25 leading chemical  companies, including BASF, AkzoNobel, DSM,  and Shell.  Research institutions include TNO, Delft University, Twente University, Wageningen University and Eindhoven University.

3. Competitive & cooperative companies

The competitiveness of the Dutch chemical industry lies in its integrated nature. Chemical companies purchase from - and supply to - one another. They also work together in public-private partnerships on innovation and production and regional clustering.

4. Clusters of combined expertise in specific areas

The Dutch chemical sector is divided into clusters that combine expertise in specific areas. For example, there is an industrial biotech chemical cluster in the south-west of the Netherlands and a cluster of companies in the area of high performance materials in the south-east of the country. The industrial biotech chemical companies are clustered in the north-east of the Netherlands.

5. The chemical community works together on new innovations

Within the strong chemical community, companies, knowledge institutions and the government work together on technology. Through 'open innovation', the sector constantly works on developing new innovations. It does this through so-called Centres for Open Chemical Innovation (COCI), in which established companies – as well as start-ups and small businesses – develop innovative ideas and test their feasibility.  The five COCIs are Chemelot; the Green Chemistry Campus; Plant One; Biotech Campus; and Green Polymer Application Valley. These companies use each other's infrastructure, services and expertise.

See also

Made in Holland special about the Chemical industry

Read articles, interviews and news updates on the Chemical sector in the Netherlands.