nearly all Dutch provinces affected by recession

  • Flevoland, Zeeland and North Holland performed better than average in 2013
  • Highest negative growth rate in Overijssel; chemical industry hit hard
  • Amsterdam achieved best results of the four major cities
  • Natural gas extraction accounts for growth in Groningen

The latest figures released today by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) show that nearly all Dutch provinces were affected by the economic recession in 2013. Altogether, the Dutch economy shrank 0.8 percent last year. In the face of the recession, some provinces suffered more than other provinces. At the provincial level, the economies of Overijssel and Limburg were most seriously affected; Flevoland, Zeeland and North Holland were hit less hard in 2013. As natural gas extraction was stepped up, Groningen was the only province to enjoy economic growth in 2013.

Differences in economic growth levels between the provinces and the major cities are closely related to the type of economic activities in the various regions. In Flevoland, for example, manufacturing industry - a relatively strong sector in this province - had a positive effect on the economy. In North Holland, companies specialised in rental of and trade in residential and non-residential property achieved good results, thus boosting the economy. The chemical industry, a prominent sector in the province of Zeeland, grew marginally in 2013, which tempered the impact of the recession in this region. The chemical industry in Overijssel, on the other hand, was faced with a reduced demand for chemical products, which contributed to the economic downturn of 1.6 percent in 2013.

In the four major Dutch cities, the impact of the recession was least felt in Amsterdam ((- 0.7 percent), Rotterdam suffered most. Amsterdam benefited from the sustained growth of the aviation sector and related services on Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, while Rotterdam struggled with the effects of the downturn in various parts of manufacturing industry, like petroleum refinery and petrochemical industry. Rotterdam’s economic performance was therefore below the nationwide average. In The Hague, the recession also continued in 2013, mainly as a result of cuts in public sector, traditionally an important factor in this region.

The sector mineral extraction thrived in the three northern provinces in 2013. Groningen recorded a growth by 8 percent. If natural gas extraction is not taken into account, Groningen had a negative economic growth rate of 1.2 percent, but including natural gas extraction, Groningen realised a growth rate of 2.7 percent. In the other two northern provinces, the contribution by the sector mineral extraction was also positive, though less substantial.