Goods exports to Germany up by 10.5 percent

© Hollandse Hoogte / Flip Franssen
In the first four months of 2021, goods exports to Germany grew by 10.5 percent to 40.6 billion euros. Flowers and plants, passenger cars and other automobiles were among the main export products manufactured in the Netherlands. Mineral fuels, machinery and components, flowers and plants were the three most lucrative Dutch-made export products. This is evident from new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Over the entire year of 2020, exports to Germany still contracted by 6.8 percent.

Exports to Germany in the first four months of this year were not only higher compared to 2020, but also nearly 5 percent higher than in record year 2019. Slightly more than half of the goods exported to Germany concerned re-exports (21 billion euros).

Goods exports to Germany, January-April
 Domestic exports (bn euros)Re-exports (bn euros)
January-April 201919.119.6
January-April 2020*17.619.1
January-April 2021*19.321.2
* provisional figures

Flowers and plants leading in domestic export growth

Domestic exports to Germany amounted to approximately 19.3 billion euros in the first four months of 2021, up by around 1.7 billion euros (nearly 10 percent) year-on-year. Dutch flowers and plants saw the largest growth: exports increased by around 246 million euros to a total of 1.3 billion euros. The export of passenger cars rose by 116 million euros. Exports of other automobiles, including buses and tractive units for semi-trailers, grew by 105 million euros. The top five is completed by the export of medicinal and pharmaceutical products, and motorcycles, bicycles, scooters and invalid carriages.

Substantial increase in re-exports of mineral fuels

In the first four months of 2021, re-exports to Germany were around 2.1 billion euros higher than in the same period last year. This is equivalent to 11.2 percent growth. Re-exports of mineral fuels grew by 367 million euros. Re-exports of clothing and clothing accessories, which were in sharp decline at the start of the coronavirus crisis, picked up again in the first four months of this year. Household appliances and televisions were also re-exported to Germany more frequently again in 2021.

Growth in exports to Germany, Jan-Apr 2021 relative to Jan-Apr 2020
categorieExport value (million euros)
Domestic exports
Flowers and plants246
Passenger cars116
Other automobiles105
Medicinal and pharmaceutical products101
Motorcycles, bicycles, scooters, invalid carriages73
Mineral fuels367
Clothing accessories111
Household appliances110

Germany most important

Twenty-two percent of goods exports went to Germany in the first four months of 2021, making it the main export destination for the Netherlands. In the period January to April 2021, Germany received around 17 percent of machinery exports, equivalent to 7.6 billion euros. It is therefore the most important destination for machinery. With more than one-quarter of exports, mineral fuels also go to Germany most frequently. These exports had a value of 4.8 billion euros in the first four months of 2021. Germany is also the number one buyer of food products such as fruit and vegetables, dairy products and meat. In the first four months of 2021, the Netherlands exported 1.3 billion euros worth of clothing and accessories to Germany, i.e. one-third of total clothing exports.

Goods exports to Germany, January-April 2021
ProductExport value (bn euros)
Mineral fuels4.829
Fruit and vegetables1.985
Medicines and pharmaceurical products1.934
Polymers / plastics1.514
Flowers and plants1.437
Iron and steel0.992
Dairy products0.701

Mineral fuels still most lucrative export products

In 2019, the highest earnings from exports to Germany were generated by the export of mineral fuels produced in the Netherlands, such as refined petroleum products. These earnings - 2.3 billion euros - halved compared to 2015. This decrease was compensated by an increase in earnings from other export products, which still resulted in higher total earnings from domestic exports to Germany. In 2019, the Netherlands earned over 23 billion euros from these exports, over 400 million euros more than in 2015.

After mineral fuels, machinery and components were the most lucrative export products. These exports generated nearly 360 million euros more in 2019, totalling nearly 1.6 billion euros. This means that earnings from machinery and components saw the strongest growth between 2015 and 2019. Flowers and plants came in third place. In 2019, the Netherlands earned 28 million euros less from these exports to Germany than four years previously.

Compared to 2015, there were mainly higher earnings from the export of medicinal and pharmaceutical products such as medicines (227 million euros), meat (196 million euros), metal and metal products (179 million euros) and passenger cars (168 million euros).

Earnings from domestic exports to Germany, top 10
 2019 (bn euros)2015 (bn euros)
Mineral fuels2.34.7
Machinery and components1.61.2
Flowers and plants1.51.6
Metal and metal products1.41.2
Fruit and vegetables1.31.2
Dairy products1.00.8
Polymers / plastics1.00.8
Medicinal and pharmaceutical products0.70.5
Plastic products0.70.5