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Netherlands: Economy#

The Netherlands, the sixth-largest economy in the European Union, plays an important role as a European transportation hub, with a persistently high trade surplus, stable industrial relations, and moderate unemployment. Industry focuses on food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 2% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for food-processing and underpins the country’s status as the world’s second largest agricultural exporter.

The Netherlands is part of the euro zone, and as such, its monetary policy is controlled by the European Central Bank. The Dutch financial sector is highly concentrated, with four commercial banks possessing over 90% of banking assets. The sector suffered as a result of the global financial crisis and required billions of dollars of government support, but the European Banking Authority completed stringent reviews in 2014 and deemed Dutch banks to be well-capitalized. To address the 2009 and 2010 economic downturns, the government sought to stimulate the domestic economy by accelerating infrastructure programs, offering corporate tax breaks for employers to retain workers, and expanding export credits. The stimulus programs and bank bailouts, however, resulted in a government budget deficit of 5.3% of GDP in 2010 that contrasted sharply with a surplus of 0.7% in 2008.

The government of Prime Minister Mark RUTTE has since implemented significant austerity measures to improve public finances and has instituted broad structural reforms in key policy areas, including the labor market, the housing sector, the energy market, and the pension system. As a result, the government budget deficit at the end of 2015 dropped to 2% of GDP. Following a protracted recession during which unemployment doubled to 7.4% and household consumption contracted for nearly three consecutive years, 2014 saw fragile GDP growth of 1% and a rise in most economic indicators. Growth picked up in 2015 as households boosted purchases through reduced saving. Drivers of growth included increased exports and business investments, as well as newly invigorated household consumption.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$865.9 billion (2016 est.)
$851.5 billion (2015 est.)
$835.2 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$769.9 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate1.7% (2016 est.)
2% (2015 est.)
1.4% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$50,800 (2016 est.)
$50,300 (2015 est.)
$49,500 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving28.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
27.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
27.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 44.4%
government consumption: 24.9%
investment in fixed capital: 20.3%
investment in inventories: -0.2%
exports of goods and services: 81.6%
imports of goods and services: -71% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 1.6%
industry: 17.8%
services: 70.4% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsgrains, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, vegetables; livestock
Industriesagroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics, fishing
Industrial production growth rate1.1% (2016 est.)
Labor force7.919 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 1.8%
industry: 17%
services: 81.2% (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate6.2% (2016 est.)
6.9% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line9.1% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 24.5% (2012 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index25.1 (2013 est.)
32.6 (1994 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $322.6 billion
expenditures: $333.5 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues41.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt63.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
65.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as i
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices)0.2% (2016 est.)
0.2% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate0.05% (31 December 2013)
0.3% (31 December 2010)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
Commercial bank prime lending rate1.6% (31 December 2016 est.)
1.85% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$404.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$405.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 18 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of
Stock of broad money$1.119 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.158 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$1.569 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.619 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$728.5 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$786.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$817.8 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Current account balance$69.82 billion (2016 est.)
$64.42 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$460.1 billion (2016 est.)
$476.5 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels; foodstuffs
Exports - partnersGermany 24.5%, Belgium 11.1%, UK 9.3%, France 8.4%, Italy 4.2% (2015)
Imports$376.3 billion (2016 est.)
$389.6 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs, clothing
Imports - partnersGermany 14.7%, China 14.5%, Belgium 8.2%, US 8.1%, UK 5.1% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$38.21 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$42.92 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Debt - external$4.284 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$4.02 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$844 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$739.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$1.207 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.102 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange rateseuros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.9214 (2016 est.)
0.885 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)
0.78 (2012 est.)