Business Environment in the Netherlands
The Netherlands entered into recession after the second trimester of 2008, the country was strongly affected by the international crisis due to its dependence on foreign trade. Its GDP experienced a historic contraction of -4% in 2009. The revival of global trade has allowed the country to recover with a slow growth drawn by the exports in 2010, estimated at 1.8%.
The crisis plunged public finance into the red, beyond the limits of the European Stability and Growth Pact. The public deficit is estimated at 5.8% of the GDP in 2010, and the public debt is close to 65% of the GDP. The priority of the government is to consolidate the budget and its objective is to bring the deficit to 3% of the GDP by 2013. The government has established reforms intended to strengthen the financial sector and the management of the population's ageing is also essential.
The Netherlands presents high incomes per capita with an equal distribution of revenues. The unemployment rate is rising but it still remains at less than 5% of the active population.
|GDP (billions USD)||796.65||783.29e||832.16||852.48||871.58e|
|GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)||-3.9||1.7e||1.5e||1.5e||1.6e|
|GDP per Capita (USD)||48,188||47,172||49,950e||51,024||52,030e|
|General Government Balance (in % of GDP)||-4.4||-4.1||-3.2e||-2.2||-1.8e|
|Inflation Rate (%)||1.0||0.9||2.3||2.2||2.0|
|Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force)||3.4||4.5||4.4||4.4||4.3|
|Current Account (billions USD)||41.65e||39.87e||42.60||44.97||-|
|Current Account (in % of GDP)||5.2e||5.0e||5.3e||5.5e||-|
Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database
Note: (e) Estimated Data
Main Sectors of Industry
The agricultural sector represents 3% of the country's GNP. The profits from production are high and the use of the agricultural surface area is very intensive. Nearly 60% of the production is exported, either directly or through the food industry, what makes of the Netherlands the third exporter of agricultural products in the world. Cereals, potatoes and horticultural products are the main crops.
Industrial activity, practically, generates nearly a quarter of the GNP through food-processing, the petro-chemical industry, metallurgy and also the transport equipment industry. The Netherlands is also amongst the major producers and distributors of oil and natural gas.
Services account for more than 70% of the national income and they are mainly centered on transportation, distribution, logistics, banking and insurances.
|Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
|Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment)||2.7||18.2||73.1|
|Value Added (in % of GDP)||1.7||24.0||74.3|
|Value Added (Annual % Change)||2.7||-6.8||-2.7|
Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.
|Euro (EUR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD||0.80||0.80||0.73||0.68||0.72|
Source: World Bank
Indicator of Economic Freedom
- Mostly free
- World Rank:
- Regional Rank:
Foreign Trade in Figures
The Dutch prosperity has always been based on its international trade. Its level of openness (imports plus exports of goods and services) usually surpasses 100% of the GDP, which makes of its economy one of the most open and foreign trade-oriented. The Netherlands has the biggest European harbor at Rotterdam, thanks to its geographical situation.
Foreign trade has experienced a significant drop during the crisis but due to its high technology industries and services, the Netherlands remains as one of the main pillars of the economy. Exports as well as imports have revived in 2010 and the country should reach a small growth in 2011. The country has a structural positive trade balance, a trend that should continue.
The country's main trade partners are the European Union, the United States and China.
|Foreign Trade Indicators||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010|
|Imports of Goods (million USD)||416,832||492,616||580,937||443,153||516,732|
|Exports of Goods (million USD)||463,629||550,755||637,918||497,891||571,900|
|Imports of Services (million USD)||86,008||97,393||111,273||107,522||108,891|
|Exports of Services (million USD)||94,510||109,084||123,037||111,352||111,258|
|Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||8.8||5.6||3.4||-8.5||-|
|Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||7.0||6.4||-||-||-|
|Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||65.1||66.3||68.4||62.2||-|
|Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||72.8||74.6||76.6||69.4||-|
|Trade Balance (million USD)||47,525||57,419||61,833||51,066||-|
|Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD)||56,852||69,332||69,975||-||-|
|Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)||137.9||140.9||145.0||131.6||-|
Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank
Main Partner Countries
(% of Exports)
|Other partnersClose extended list||40.8%|
(% of Imports)
|Other partnersClose extended list||48.8%|
Sources of General Economic Information
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
Ministry of Economical Affairs
Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery
Ministry of Finances
- Statistical Office
Central Bureau of Statistics
- Central Bank
Dutch National Bank
- Stock Exchange
Amsterdam Exchange (AEX)
- Search Engines
- Economic Portals
- Executive Power
- The chief of state is the Queen (visit the website of the royal family). Following parliamentary (lower house) elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed Prime Minister ( head of the government) by the monarch to serve a four year term. The Council of Ministers is appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Prime Minister.
- Legislative Power
- A bicameral legislature. The parliament called States General consists of two chambers: First Chamber (upper house) and Second Chamber (lower house). The government has the right to dissolve the parliament, one or both the chambers.
- Main Political Parties
CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal) – Christian democrats,
- CU (Christian Union) - a orthodox reformed political party with more centre-left ideas,
- D66 (Democrats 66) - a progressive-liberal and radical-democratic political party,
- Green Left - an eco-socialist and anti-capitalist political party,
- PvdA (Labour Party) – a social-democratic political party,
- PVV (Party for Freedom) - a right wing party known for their hard stands on immigration
- SP (Socialistic Party) - a left wing party forms of the remainder of the communist party, extremely socialistic,
- VVD (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy) - a centre-right, free market, liberal party.
- Current Political Leaders
- Queen: BEATRIX (since April 1980) hereditary
Prime Minister: Jan Peter BALKENENDE (since July 2002) CDA, heading a coalition government with the PvdA and CU until the next general elections in November 2010.
- Next Election Dates
- First Chamber: May 2011
Indicator of Freedom of the Press
- World Rank:
- 10 places up compared to 2008
Indicator of Political Freedom
- Political Freedom:
- Civil Liberties:
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