Facts and Figures

The Dutch agri-food sector benefits from Holland’s mild climate, flat and fertile soil and favourable location at the heart of Europe. The sector can capitalise on expertise in transport and logistics and the presence of the Port of Rotterdam and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

The Netherlands is a small country that thinks big. Due to its fertile soil and smart solutions, it is the second-largest exporter of agri-food products in the world, after the United States. Hard effort and smart working practices have resulted in a workforce that has the highest added value per FTE in Europe. Companies, knowledge institutes, and policymakers have joined forces in order to create a well-equipped and highly effective knowledge infrastructure that meets the requirements of today’s knowledge-intensive agri-food sector, enabling the sustainable and efficient production of high quality, healthy and tasty foods. Dutch entrepreneurs and researchers are eager to address and solve global challenges. In order to achieve this aim, they invest, for example, in state-of-the-art-scientific solutions as well as developing practical solutions for the agri-food sector.

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The strong agri-food sector dates backcenturies, as the Dutch created new farmland through land reclamation and built greenhouses to grow fruit and vegetables. For decades, Dutch agriculture has held the lead over international competitors by continually investing in renewing agricultural production chains.
The agri-food sector is one of the main drivers of the Dutch economy, contributing some
10 percent to the economy and employment. The sector is responsible for a proportionally
greater share of national industrial production than any other country in the European Union, not least because the Netherlands is the home of several world-renowned agri-food

The Netherlands is a hotbed of agri-food R&D in, due largely to the excellent knowledge base at at several universities, research institutes and industrial R&D centres. The Dutch government strongly supports agri-food related initiatives in public-private partnerships, innovation programs, and clusters such as Food Valley.

Focus themes as identified by industry, knowledge infrastructure and the government are: healthy food, food safety & quality, and sustainability & food security.

Did you know?

  • In Europe Holland has the 2nd highest private R&D investment rate in agri-food (as % of GDP)
  • Of the world's 40 largest food & beverage comapnies 12 have a major production site or R&D facilities in the Netherlands
  • The Netherladns is the global market leader in machinery for processing: poultry, red meat, bakery, cheese products with the turnover of 2,3 billion Euro of which 80% is exported
  • The agri-food sector is one of the major drivers of the Dutch economy with a contribution of 52,3 billion Euro added value to Dutch GDP which provides work and income for more than 660,000 people

Facts Figures 2       Facts Figures 1

The Dutch agri-food sector is one of the main drivers of the Dutch economy, with a contribution of almost 10 percent of the GDP and employment. Today, the Netherlands is the world’s second largest exporter of agri-food products, after the USA. For decades, Dutch agriculture has succeeded in maintaining its lead over international competitors by continually investing in the renewal of agricultural production chains. The agri-food industry in the Netherlands is responsible for a proportionally greater share of national industrial production than any other country in the European Union, not least because the Netherlands is the home of several world-renowned agri-food multinationals. In this directory, you will find everything you need to talk about the agri-food sector in the Netherlands and its relevance to the Dutch economy.

Important R&D players are Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Top Institute
Food & Nutrition (TIFN), the public-private innovation program FND+ (Food & Nutrition Delta), TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) and NIZO food research.
The agri-food related curricula of, in particular, the universities of Wageningen, Groningen,
Amsterdam, Utrecht and Maastricht also contribute to the Dutch agri-food successes. The agri-food knowledge infrastructure is supported by the presence of world-class institutes and R&D departments of companies in the areas of medicine, chemistry, logistics, high tech systems and other related industries.

Agricultural exports from the Netherlands increasing

The Dutch agricultural trade has an international focus. Besides being a major producer of agricultural products, the Netherlands is also a major processor of and transit country for agricultural products. Developments in other parts of Europe and the world have a significant influence on the international trade position of the Netherlands. In particular, the success or failure of harvests influences pricing, and thus also the export and import values and the trading volumes.
In general, the reduced oil price - as a result of which transport became cheaper - and favourable exchange rates
had a positive influence. In 2015, the trading climate for exports to non-euro countries was favourable, resulting in increased exports to the UK and the USA, for example. Imports from non-euro countries were negatively influenced by the same currency exchange rate trends. Despite the increasing geopolitical unrest, the above developments and the cautious economic growth in our primary markets ensured a limited increase in the agricultural export value in 2015.

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Dutch trade worldwide increased further in 2015
The total Dutch exports of goods (including agricultural products) in 2015 are estimated at €438.7 billion, which is 1.2% more than in 2014. Imports of goods (€392.5 billion) amount to 2.6% more than in 2014. As a result, the total trade surplus of the Netherlands in 2015 (€46.3 billion) has declined by 9.3% compared with 2014, bringing it to the level seen in 2013.

Dutch Agricultral Trade By Product Group 2015



Strong In Agri Food Production  Competitive Economies

General information about The Netherlands:

Area: 41,528 km² (18.41% water)
Total population: 16 904 594 (1 January 2015)
Population density: 498 people per km2
Capital city: Amsterdam (inhabitants: 823.827 in 2015)
Government: The Hague (inhabitants: 515.880 in 2015)
Official languages: Dutch, Frisian
Type of government: Constitutional monarchy – parliamentary democracy
Dependent areas: Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten
Religion: 26% Roman Catholic, 16% Protestant, 5% Muslim
Currency: Euro
National holidays: King's Day (the King's birthday of 27 April (1967); celebrated on 26 April if 27 April is a Sunday)
Highest point: 323 m (Vaalserberg, Limburg)
Lowest point: -6.7 m (Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel, Zuid-Holland)
Average temperature in July: 17.9 °C
Average temperature in January: 3.1 °C
Climate: Cool summers and mild winters
National symbol: lion, tulip; national colour; orange

Other links for general interest in the Netherlands

  1. Statistics Netherlands: www.cbs.nl
  2. Dutch national government: www.government.nl
  3. Ministry of Economic Affairs: http://www.government.nl/ministries/ez
  4. Netherlands Tourism Bureau: www.holland.com
  5. Amsterdam: www.iamsterdam.com
  6. Rotterdam: www.rotterdam.info