Exporting guide to The Netherlands


The Netherlands has a thriving economy and is a major gateway to Europe. It is culturally similar to the UK, making it an ideal test market for products. In 2018, it made up 6.9% of all UK exports.

Major gateway to Europe

The Netherlands has excellent access to the European mainland and many goods enter the EU through it. Its transport infrastructure was ranked as one of the world’s best by the World Economic Forum in 2018.

High regard for British products

Dutch consumers are open to new products and experiences and often look to the English-speaking world for new trends. English is widely spoken and the Dutch have a taste for British goods.

Strong and growing economy

The Netherlands has the fifth largest economy in Europe, with the 12th largest per capita GDP in the world. It is one of the world’s most open economies, and 2019 growth is predicted to be 1.8%.


The Netherlands: at a glance



Business languages

Dutch, English

GDP per capita


Actual figure (IMF, 2021). The UK is $47,203 (IMF, 2021, projected figure)

Economic growth


(IMF, 2021)

Time zone

GMT +1

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Opportunities for exporters

Export opportunities include defence and security, food and drink, offshore wind energy and technology.

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in the Netherlands

Preparing to export


VAT is called BTW in the Netherlands. The usual rate is 21%. A lower rate of 9% applies to some products and services, such as food, medicines, and paint and plaster for homes.

Standards and regulations

Products and services should meet relevant EU safety standards, including clear instructions for proper use, and include warnings against misuse.

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) is responsible for standards.

Services regulations

Information on rules for selling services and business travel to the Netherlands is available on gov.uk

Packaging and labelling

EU standards apply to packaging.

Payment terms

Dutch law requires that every invoice should be paid within 30 days, unless the buyer and supplier agree on other payment conditions.

A payment term of over 60 days is only allowed if it can be shown that it is not detrimental to either party.

Netherlands Enterprise Agency has provided more information on payment terms.

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with the Netherlands.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in The Netherlands

Local partnerships

The Netherlands is a small and well developed market, so a local representative can be very helpful.

Dutch government: Doing business in Netherlands

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.