Sharp decline for Dutch textile industry

The number of companies and workers in the Dutch textile, clothing and leather industry has decreased significantly between 1993 and 2003. The share of this sector in total Dutch manufacturing has dropped: in 2002 the sector accounted for only 2 percent of total manufacturing production in the Netherlands.

Share in production, labour volume and number of companies

Fewer companies

In the last ten years 800 companies in the textile, clothing and leather industry have gone out of business. This is the equivalent of one in every five companies in this sector. In 1993, 9.4 percent of manufacturing companies were active in this sector. In 2002 this was only 6.7 percent. The share of the sector in overall manufacturing has fallen by roughly 30 percent.

Quarterly turnover (current prices)

Economic developments

Within the sector, the clothing and the leather and footwear industries are experiencing the worst difficulties. Turnover in the clothing industry, for example, did not even grow when economic growth was strongest (1996-2000). In this period turnover in the two other branches grew about equally strongly.

Since 2001 the turnover in the clothing, leather and footwear branch has dropped sharply. The turnover in the textile branch is apparently less sensitive to the economic malaise. This makes the leather and footwear industry the most sensitive to the economic cycle, while the textile industry feels the effects least.

Net exports by sector

Clothes from Asia

More and more clothes and shoes are imported from Asia, especially from the Far East. Imports of clothes and shoes were some 3 billion euro higher than exports in 2002, and about 90 percent of these imports came from countries in Asia. In 1996 this was still only 74 percent.

The Netherlands is a net exporter of textile products, though. The net exports of textile products doubled to 1 billion euro between 1996 and 2002.

Cees Maas