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flag Netherlands Netherlands: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline

 

Economic Indicators

The Netherlands is the fifth largest economic power in Europe and the fifth largest exporter of goods. The country has been hit hard by the global crisis and later the eurozone crisis because of its dependence on foreign trade.

The Dutch economic growth has been negative for the past two years, due to weak domestic demand (-1% in 2013), which should strat recovering in 2014 (0.5%) thanks to investment and public spending.

The Dutch economy, long considered a model of success in the eurozone, has been badly impacted by the series of recessions. State debt continued to increase in 2013 and now represents around 75% of the GDP, investment is falling, domestic consumtion remains sluggish and the housing market is undergoing a severe crisis. Public finances have plunged into the red, beyond the allowance of the European Stability and Growth Pact. The government's priority is fiscal consolidation, with the aim of rebalancing public finances. In 2014, the deficit should be reduced to 3.2% of the GDP (compared to 3.9% in 2013) thanks to massive budget cuts of around 6 billion euro, especially in welfare programmes. Reducing inquealities is also among the government's priorities.

The Netherlands has a very high per capita revenue, with a relatively equal distribution of revenues. The GDP/per capita ration is above the EU average. The unemployment rate, which for a long time was practically non-existent, has been rising strongly since 2008, and should reach 8% of the active population in 2014, which represents a 30-year record level.

 
Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 894.58823.60853.81e880.39891.55
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 1.7-1.6-0.70.61.4
GDP per Capita (USD) 53,59049,1585052,24952,770
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -3.6-2.20.20.1-0.0
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 61.366.568.669.4e69.6
Inflation Rate (%) 2.52.82.60.50.7
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 4.45.36.77.36.9
Current Account (billions USD) 75.6773.48e87.12e86.9685.81
Current Account (in % of GDP) 8.58.910.29.9e9.6

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

The agricultural sector represents 2% of the country's GNP. The yields are high and the use of the agricultural surface area is very intensive. Nearly 60% of the production is exported, either directly or through the food industry, what makes of the Netherlands the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world (after the U.S.). Cereals, potatoes and horticultural products are the main crops.
Industrial activity, practically, generates nearly a quarter of the GNP through food-processing, the petro-chemical industry, metallurgy and also the transport equipment industry. The Netherlands is also amongst the major producers and distributors of oil and natural gas.
Services account for almost 75% of the national income and they are mainly centered on transportation, distribution, logistics, banking and insurances, water engineering and new technologies. The Netherlands is Europe's number one in the field of ocean freight.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 2.5 15.3 71.5
Value Added (in % of GDP) 2.0 22.2 75.9
Value Added (Annual % Change) 1.9 -0.0 -0.6

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
Euro (EUR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 0.720.760.720.780.76

Source: CIA - The world factbook - Last Available Data.

 
 

Learn more about Market Analyses about the Netherlands on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
74.2/100
Position:
Mostly Free
World Rank:
15/178
Regional Rank:
6/43

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation

 

Business environment ranking

Definition:

The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

Score:
7.78
World Rank:
16/82

Source: The Economist - Business Environment Rankings 2014-2018

 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Foreign Trade in Figures

The Dutch prosperity has always been based on its international trade. With high-tech industries and services, foreign trade is one of the main pillars of the Dutch economy, representing over 155% of GDP (average 2010-2012). The level of the country's trade openness (the share of imports plus exports of goods and services in the GDP) is usually over 100%, making it one of the most open and most outwards-oriented economies in the world. Rotterdam is the largest European port, thanks to its strategic geographic location, which makes the Netherlands a European trading hub.

The Dutch trade balance is structurally a surplus and this trend should continue. In 2013, the trade surplus increased due to imports falling more quickly than exports. The country's main trade partners are the European Union, the United States and China.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 443,153516,409599,035590,352590,293
Exports of Goods (million USD) 497,891574,251667,101655,700663,524
Imports of Services (million USD) 107,522105,510120,897119,539121,152
Exports of Services (million USD) 111,352115,558135,629131,125142,006
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -7.58.33.52.80.8
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -8.08.94.43.32.0
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 56.463.668.872.972.6
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 63.972.077.482.082.9
Trade Balance (million USD) 48,06853,15958,54855,50266,404
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 55,86763,91672,04866,41885,001
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 120.3135.5146.2155.0155.6

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2013
Germany 24.7%
Belgium 11.1%
United Kingdom 8.5%
France 8.3%
Italy 4.6%
See More Countries 42.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2013
Germany 16.6%
Belgium 9.8%
China 8.3%
United Kingdom 7.2%
United States 6.8%
See More Countries 51.3%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
 

Main Products

- bn USD of products exported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 13.2%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 4.3%
Automatic data processing machines and units...Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 3.8%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.4%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 2.3%
See More Products 74.0%
- bn USD of products imported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 10.3%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 10.0%
Automatic data processing machines and units...Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 4.6%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 2.9%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 2.5%
See More Products 69.7%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)
 
 
 

Main Services

- bn USD of services exported in 2011
30.78%
22.31%
21.61%
10.36%
4.56%
4.29%
1.96%
1.90%
1.13%
0.57%
0.52%
- bn USD of services imported in 2011
33.91%
17.84%
17.71%
16.85%
4.33%
3.91%
1.79%
1.44%
0.98%
0.64%
0.61%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
Ministry of Economical Affairs
Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery
Ministry of Finances
Statistical Office
Central Bureau of Statistics
Central Bank
Dutch National Bank
Stock Exchange
Amsterdam Exchange (AEX)
Search Engines
Search
AltaVista.nl
Excite.nl
Hotbot.nl
Ilse
Lycos.nl
NL-Menu (en néerlandais)
Surfboard NL
Track
Vindex
Wanadoo.nl
Zoek.nl
Economic Portals
NL Agency
KB
NL Agency
KB

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Political Outline

Executive Power
The chief of state is the Queen (visit the website of the royal family). Following parliamentary (lower house) elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed Prime Minister ( head of the government) by the monarch to serve a four year term. The Council of Ministers is appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Prime Minister.
Legislative Power
A bicameral legislature. The parliament called States General consists of two chambers: First Chamber (upper house) and Second Chamber (lower house). The government has the right to dissolve the parliament, one or both the chambers.
Main Political Parties
- CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal) – Christian democrats,
- CU (Christian Union) - a orthodox reformed political party with more centre-left ideas,
- D66 (Democrats 66) - a progressive-liberal and radical-democratic political party,
- Green Left - an eco-socialist and anti-capitalist political party,
- PvdA (Labor Party) – a social-democratic political party,
- PVV (Party for Freedom) (in Dutch) - a right wing party known for their hard stands on immigration
- SP (Socialistic Party) - a left wing party forms of the remainder of the communist party, extremely socialistic,
- VVD (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy) - a centre-right, free market, liberal party.
Current Political Leaders
King: WILLEM-ALEXANDER (since 30 April 2013) - hereditary
Prime Minister: Jan Peter BALKENENDE (since July 2002) CDA, heading a coalition government with the PvdA and CU until the next general elections in November 2010.
Next Election Dates
First Chamber: May 2015
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
2/180
Evolution:
same place compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
1/7

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House

 

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Last Updates: October 2014