Many businesses in Limburg engaged in international trade

Limburg is the most internationally-oriented Dutch province and has the highest rate of companies engaged in international trade. According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), Limburg also has the largest international trade sector in comparison to the size of its economy.

Most imports and exports in South Holland

In absolute terms, most goods and services are imported and exported to and from the province of South Holland. The presence of Europe’s largest port (Rotterdam) and the amount of local companies in the province are two important factors. More than one-quarter of international trade is handled in South Holland.

With a large sea port and the main international airport, the province of North Holland also accounts for a large part of international imports and exports. Together, these two provinces account for half of imports and 45 percent of exports and they have the largest local economies.

If the size of international trade is related to the size of the economy (gross regional product), Limburg has the most internationally-oriented economy with South Holland in second place.

International trade by province

Limburg has highest rate of internationally-oriented companies

Proportionally, Limburg also has the highest number of companies engaged in foreign trade. In 2014, nearly 16 percent of subsidiaries in Limburg had international trade contacts worth at least 5,000 euros, versus a nationwide average of 10.6 percent. Obviously, Limburg’s location is an important factor in this respect. Apart from Groningen, all border provinces boast higher scores than the Randstad provinces.

Share subsidiaries in foreign trade, 2014

Limburg mainly exports chemical products

The largest export category for Limburg is chemical products. Exports in many provinces are dominated by a single category. In the province of Groningen, for example, three-quarters of exports are mineral fuels (gas) and in the province of Flevoland machinery and transport equipment account for more than half of exports. In the province of North Brabant, machinery and transport equipment account for 44 percent of exports. The province of Friesland mainly exports food and livestock.

Goods exported from a particular province are not always manufactured in that province. Goods can also be exported through wholesale channels and more and more goods are produced in value chains based on geographical location. On 17 December CBS will provide information on this subject in the publication Regional Economies.

Exports of products manufactured in the Netherlands broken down by by province