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Who are The Netherlands' most important trading partners?

The Netherlands is a country that has always conducted much trade over the centuries. And although the Netherlands is a small country, it is relatively large on the import and export market. In this article, we take a closer look at the most important trading partners of the Netherlands. 

Figures from Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics show that Germany is by far the most critical trading partner for the Netherlands. In 2018, the country accounted for almost 25 percent of all goods exported. Within Europe, Belgium and the United Kingdom are also loyal partners. Imports from Norway grew the fastest this year. Outside Europe, we see that exports to the United States expanded the most rapid in 2018. This increased by no less than 20 percent. Goods exports to China, on the other hand, fell sharply, by 10 percent.


Services are an essential part of Dutch trade. "In 2018, the Netherlands imported 195 billion euros worth of services and exported 206 billion euros worth of services. Both flows have increased by a third since 2014, making it an absolute growth of 50 billion euros. A peak can be seen in the import of services in 2015. The increase in both flows is caused by a one-off purchase of substantial amounts of intellectual property," writes the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics.

To whom is the Netherlands vital?

The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics has also looked at the figures from the other side. How important is the Netherlands as a trading partner for the rest of the world? And what are essential products that are being imported from the Netherlands?

In 2018, the Netherlands was Iceland's largest trading partner. More than a quarter of all Icelandic exports go to the Netherlands. This mainly concerns aluminium, which is extracted on the island from bauxite. The Netherlands is also an important market for Russia and Norway. They mainly supply oil and gas. Also, from Mozambique, Nigeria and Guinea, there is a significant oil export to the Netherlands. Finally, the Netherlands is also vital for Ivory Coast (with cocoa), Aruba and Suriname.

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