Netherlands second largest export country in Europe

Last year, the Netherlands was the second largest export country of the European Union (EU) after Germany, while in 2007 the Netherlands occupied third place. The Netherlands also holds a prominent position with respect to export value growth and trade surplus. This is corroborated by the latest figures released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Dutch exports equal total exports new EU member states

Dutch exports almost equalled total exports of the twelve new EU member states in 2008. The value of total Dutch exports of goods, like computers, medicines and natural gas approximated 430 billion euro. With 994 billion euro, the value of German exports was by far the highest in the EU. The Netherlands outstripped France in 2008. In 2007, France still held second place before the Netherlands.

Export value, 2008


Growth Dutch exports also high in relative terms

Last year, Dutch exports grew by 7 percent relative to 2007. The Dutch growth rate is much higher than the average growth in the fifteen countries that constitute the former EU. The growth rate of exports of the new EU member states, on the other hand, is higher than the growth rate of Dutch exports.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, Dutch exports were 5 percent down on twelve months previously. In most other EU member states, the situation was even more dramatic.

Increase in export value


Only Germany has higher trade surplus

In 2008, the Dutch trade surplus amounted to nearly 41 billion euro. With 175 billion euro, only Germany has a higher trade surplus. Most EU economies import more than they export, resulting in a balance of trade deficit.

Balance of trade, 2008


Re-exports boost exports

The Netherlands‘ high ranking on the list of export countries is partly due to the prominent position as a distribution country for goods destined for other European countries. Dutch merchants buy, for instance, computers in China, which are exported to Rotterdam and subsequentlyy re-exported to other European countries. Re-exports make up nearly half of total Dutch exports, whereas many countries chiefly export home-manufactured products.

Oscar Lemmers