Exports also contributed to recession

In 2003 Dutch economy fell into decline for the first time since 1982 and for the first time exports contributed to the recession.


Economic growth has been in decline since 2000. In 2001 and 2002 economic growth was still positive though the rate was slackening compared to 2000. The upward trend reversed in 2003 when Dutch economy shrank by 0.9 percent. Consumer spending and investments in fixed capital formation were lower in 2003 than in 2002. For the first time in more than twenty years the volume of exports fell.

Economic growth by category

Economic growth by category

Consumption and investments down

The decrease in the volume of consumer spending made a negative contribution to economic growth of 0.5 percent. Consumers spent less on home furnishing, clothes, shoes and means of transport. Investments also made a negative contribution of 0.5 percent to economic growth. This was caused by falling investments in non-residential buildings, machinery and equipment.

Exports down for the first time in twenty years

The volume of exports of goods and services produced in the Netherlands decreased in 2003. The decrease in the volume of exports is rather remarkable as it occurred for the last time in the 1980s. In 2003 exports, for the first time, made a negative contribution (0.3 percent) to economic growth.

Only government makes positive contribution

The public sector fuelled the economy in 2001 and 2002. The volume of government consumption made a positive contribution towards economic growth of 1.0 percent in 2001 and 0.7 percent in 2002. The government’s contribution was also positive (0.4 percent) in 2003 but not substantial enough to compensate for other negative developments.

Taeke Takema