The fact that the Netherlands, as a small and open trading nation, is highly interconnected with other countries becomes particularly clear during a crisis. Global lockdown measures, travel restrictions and other measures to curb the spread of coronavirus had an immediate impact on production, consumption, trade, transport and investments in 2020.
Shortages of critical components such as chips and semiconductors continued to worsen as 2020 and 2021 progressed, and an imbalance between supply and demand in the global economy caused supply chain problems, higher transport costs and a sharp increase in prices of raw materials and especially energy. The blockade of the Suez Canal by container ship Ever Given in March 2021 was a telling example of how efficient and yet vulnerable world trade can be. It caused a huge pile-up of container ships on one of the world’s most important waterways. Economic advisers to the US president aptly christened 2021 the year in which supply chains and interdependencies between countries became dinner table conversations (Council of Economic Advisers, 2022).