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  • Writer's pictureSerge Gerritsma

Business location Netherlands

The Netherlands is one of the top five export nations in the world. Its geographical location and the traditionally close connection to the European and intercontinental markets make it an international hub for trade and logistics.

Geographical location

The geographic location of the Netherlands in the center of Europe and its traditionally close connections to the European and intercontinental markets offer significant advantages. The Netherlands borders Germany to the east and Belgium to the south. The west of the country is characterized by its proximity to the North Sea. Accordingly, the country is a logistics hub for European and global goods traffic.

Many goods delivered by sea are transported to the European hinterland via the largest European port of Rotterdam (goods handling in 2019: 469.4 million tons). 350 million consumers are supplied with goods from the port. Goods handling is higher than at all German seaports combined. Rotterdam is one of the top ten most important ports worldwide. With Schiphol, Amsterdam is also the number three among European airports (cargo volume in the corona year 2020: 1.4 million tons, passengers: 20.9 million).

The four western cities of the Netherlands - Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht - are combined under the umbrella term Randstad. This region forms the engine of the Dutch economy and is also the cultural center of the country. 42 percent of the total population live in the Randstad. Half of all jobs are there. Consequently, half of GDP is generated in the Randstad.

Economic Structure

The driving pillars of the Dutch economy are the service, trade, industry and agriculture sectors. With a share of almost 69.8 percent (2019) of GDP, the service sector is the most important branch of the economy and also employs almost four fifths of all Dutch workers.

It is followed by industry with around 17.8 percent, and finally agriculture and fisheries with a share of around 1.7 percent of GDP. The industrial branch consists of raw material and mineral fuel processing, chemical industry as well as electronics, metal, food and beverage industry. With an export value of over 95.6 billion euros (2020, source: CBS), the Netherlands is the second largest agricultural export nation in the world after the USA. Germany is the most important customer country and has been buying around a quarter of Dutch agricultural products for years.

Location Advantages

Other advantages of the Netherlands as a business location are its efficient infrastructure, the business-friendly approval procedures and favorable legal framework, especially with regard to the tax legislation that is open to foreign companies. In addition, the Netherlands scores with outstanding logistics, inexpensive commercial real estate and a highly qualified, multilingual and flexible workforce. The low level of gross salary compared to Germany is offset by lower tax deductions.

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