Exporting guide to The Netherlands
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
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Opportunities for exporters
Export opportunities include defence and security, food and drink, offshore wind energy and technology.
Food and drink
Taste for British products
The Netherlands’ affluent, UK-friendly population has a taste for traditional British tea room products, whisky, gin and cheese. Younger generations are embracing trends from the London ‘foodie’ scene. The UK’s ethnic cuisines are also becoming more popular.
The leading Dutch supermarkets are always looking for new suppliers for their own-brand products, both traditional products (including tea, baked goods, snacks and cereals) and new healthy options (including ‘free from’ and low-sugar ranges).
The government is promoting healthier lifestyles to fight the growing problem of obesity and diabetes in the country. There is also a national campaign to introduce more plant-based eating to everyday diets.
Offshore wind energy
Development and planning
Developers will need support during and after the bidding process for the offshore wind power site, and following the award of the contract.
There are opportunities for UK businesses in forming strategic alliances with Dutch companies to offer project and delivery expertise.
Operations and maintenance
Limited domestic experience in operations and maintenance may create opportunities for experienced UK companies to offer their services.
The Netherlands has a dense network of road, rail, water and flight connections, so there is strong demand for innovative technology for the logistics industry. The road network needs innovations to help monitor and manage the flow of traffic.
There is a strong trend towards urbanisation in the Netherlands. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht are growing rapidly. There are opportunities to offer sustainable solutions to water management, energy usage and 'liveability' challenges in these cities.
Transition to renewable energy
Netherlands is moving away from the use of gas and towards renewable energy. The large-scale industrial, agriculture and logistics sectors, as well as consumers, will need support with this change.
Financial and professional services
Services for the logistics sector
The importance of the logistics sector is creating opportunities to provide financial, legal and advisory services. Banks, insurance companies, legal firms and consultancies with good knowledge of international markets will find significant opportunities.
An attractive economic environment for international businesses, Netherlands is home to many international companies’ headquarters. These headquarters need English speakers who can provide high quality financial and professional services.
The Dutch financial sector is moving towards a cashless economy, and banks are rapidly introducing mobile banking. Exporters that can offer innovative, safe and secure solutions for mobile banking and investment will find strong interest from Dutch companies.