Netherlands Top 10 Exports

Netherlands Top 10 Exports


A small but mighty player in international trade, Netherlands shipped US$652.2 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a 14.2% increase since 2013 and a 46.6% uptick from 2016 to 2017 for the powerful European Union member.

From January to July 2018, exported goods from the Netherlands were valued at $419.1 billion. This 7-month metric puts Dutch exports on track for an annualized $718.4 billion estimated for all 2018.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Netherlands’ exported goods plus services represent 85.3% of total Dutch economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes a sizable share of re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, about three-quarters (75.7%) of Dutch exports by value were delivered to other European countries while 10.7% were sold to Asian importers. The Netherlands shipped another 4.5% to North American customers, 2.2% worth going to Africa plus 1.3% to Latin America (excluding Mexico) and the Caribbean.

Given the Dutch population of 17.1 million people, Netherlands’ total $652.2 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $38,200 for every resident in that country.

The unemployment rate for the Netherlands was 4.1% as of February 2018 down from 5.3% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.

Netherlands Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Dutch global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from the Netherlands.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$93.5 billion (14.3% of total exports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $87.4 billion (13.4%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: $80.3 billion (12.3%)
  4. Pharmaceuticals: $33.5 billion (5.1%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $30.1 billion (4.6%)
  6. Vehicles: $27.3 billion (4.2%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: $25.4 billion (3.9%)
  8. Organic chemicals: $21.4 billion (3.3%)
  9. Iron, steel: $14.8 billion (2.3%)
  10. Live trees, plants, cut flowers: $10.3 billion (1.6%)

Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Most Valuable Dutch Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.

Netherlands top 10 exports accounted for almost two-thirds (65%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Pharmaceuticals represent the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 101.2% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales was electrical machinery and equipment, which appreciated by 97.5%.

Dutch shipments of mineral fuels including oil went up in value by 87%.

The slowest-growing category was live trees and plants via a modest 5.6% increase.


Overall the Netherlands earned a $77.7 billion trade surplus in 2017, a positive trade balance that represents a 67% improvement over the $46.5-billion surplus in 2016.

The following types of Dutch product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus.

Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$18 billion (Up by 95.4% since 2016)
  2. Pharmaceuticals: $10 billion (Up by 197.1%)
  3. Plastics, plastic articles: $9.2 billion (Up by 10.5%)
  4. Live trees, plants, cut flowers: $7.7 billion (Up by 3.3%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $6 billion (Up by 58%)
  6. Dairy, eggs, honey: $5.4 billion (Up by 25.3%)
  7. Meat: $4.9 billion (Up by 7.1%)
  8. Organic chemicals: $4.8 billion (Up by 49.2%)
  9. Vegetables: $4.8 billion (Up by 1.4%)
  10. Iron, steel: $3 billion (Up by 44.8%)

Netherlands has highly positive net exports in the international trade of machines including computers. In turn, these cashflows indicate strong competitive advantages for the Netherlands under the machinery product category.


Below are exports from the Netherlands that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country goods trail Dutch importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$6.8 billion (Down by -28.7% since 2016)
  2. Vehicles: -$3.9 billion (Down by -4.1%)
  3. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$2.8 billion (Up by 77.7%)
  4. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$2.6 billion (Up by 96.3%)
  5. Cereals: -$2.4 billion (Up by 18.2%)
  6. Wood: -$2 billion (Up by 12.2%)
  7. Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: -$1.8 billion (Up by 16.7%)
  8. Footwear: -$904.5 million (Up by 10.3%)
  9. Oil seeds: -$829.7 million (Up by 31.1%)
  10. Aircraft, spacecraft: -$771.2 million (Down by -38.7%)

Netherlands has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related products particularly crude oil and, to a lesser degree, coal.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate the Netherlands’s competitive disadvantages in the international energy market, but also represent key opportunities for the Netherlands to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations especially in alternative energy sources.


Dutch Export Companies

Twenty-seven Dutch corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Dutch export companies headquartered in the Netherlands that Forbes included:

  • Ageas (diversified insurance)
  • Akzo Nobel (diversified chemicals)
  • ASM International N.V. (semiconductors)
  • ASM International N.V. (semiconductors)
  • ASML Holding (semiconductors)
  • DSM (diversified chemicals)
  • Gemalto (electronics)
  • Gemalto (electronics)
  • Heineken Holding (beverages)
  • LyondellBasell Industries (diversified chemicals)
  • NXP Semiconductors (semiconductors)
  • Philips (industrial conglomerate)
  • Royal Dutch Shell (oil & gas operations)
  • Unilever (food processing)

According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following companies are also examples of leading Dutch exporters for 2014:

  • Cargill (cocoa powder, wheat gluten)
  • Daimler (automobile parts, transmission belts, primary batteries)
  • Heineken Brouwerijen (malt beer, cider and other fermented drinks)


Searchable List of Most Valuable Dutch Export Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, Netherlands’ top export products are refined petroleum oils followed by mobile phones then computers.

The following searchable table displays 200 of the most in-demand goods shipped from the Netherlands during 2017. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2016.

RankDutch Export Product2017 Value (US$)Change
1Processed petroleum oils$44.2 billion+17%
2Phone system devices including smartphones$42.3 billion+30.9%
3Computers, optical readers$25.8 billion+20.8%
4Medication mixes in dosage$17.6 billion+7.9%
5Printing machinery$11 billion+13.4%
6Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$10.6 billion+11.5%
7Blood fractions (including antisera)$9.9 billion+7.4%
8Cars$9.3 billion+25.1%
9Crude oil$9.3 billion+32.3%
10Machinery for making semi-conductors$9.1 billion+45.8%
11Integrated circuits/microassemblies$8.5 billion+35.2%
12Computer parts, accessories$8.1 billion-4.6%
13Orthopedic appliances$7.8 billion+23.4%
14Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)$6.9 billion+125.5%
15Tractors$5.6 billion+12.1%
16Aluminum (unwrought)$5.6 billion+29.2%
17TV receivers/monitors/projectors$5.6 billion+10.9%
18Turbo-jets$4.7 billion+60%
19Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$4.5 billion+13.8%
20Fresh or dried flowers (for bouquets, ornamental)$4.4 billion+20.1%
21Miscellaneous live plants$4.3 billion+44.2%
22Coal, solid fuels made from coal$4.1 billion+67.7%
23Cheese, curd$4.1 billion+22.2%
24Medication mixes not in dosage$3.9 billion+56.2%
25Trucks$3.8 billion+5%
26Automobile parts/accessories$3.8 billion+19.3%
27Cyclic hydrocarbons$3.8 billion+18.5%
28Unrecorded sound media$3.4 billion+33.3%
29Ethylene polymers$3.2 billion+2.6%
30Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$3.1 billion+23.5%
31Other food preparations$3.1 billion+11.2%
32Table games, bowling equipment$3 billion+7.5%
33TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$3 billion-0.2%
34Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$2.9 billion+27.8%
35#N/A$2.8 billion+11.5%
36Iron or steel scrap$2.8 billion+41.9%
37Electrical transformers, static converters$2.7 billion+24.5%
38Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations$2.7 billion+4.2%
39Rubber tires (new)$2.6 billion+9.6%
40Poultry meat$2.6 billion+11.5%
41Iron ferroalloys$2.5 billion+43%
42Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$2.5 billion+20.5%
43Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$2.4 billion+33.1%
44Acyclic hydrocarbons$2.3 billion+27.7%
45Biodiesel$2.3 billion+25.6%
46Miscellaneous plastic items$2.3 billion+28.5%
47Swine meat$2.2 billion+15.1%
48Acyclic alcohols$2.1 billion+42.3%
49Chemical industry products/residuals$2.1 billion+35.2%
50Aircraft parts$2.1 billion-7.4%
51Miscellaneous fresh/chilled vegetables$2.1 billion+20.7%
52Yachts, other pleasure/sports vessels$2 billion+9.2%
53Iron ores, concentrates$2 billion+55.8%
54Air or vacuum pumps$2 billion+18.2%
55Tomatoes (fresh/chilled)$2 billion+20%
56Other diagnostic/lab reagents$2 billion+10.3%
57Refined copper, unwrought alloys$2 billion+21.6%
58Malt beer$2 billion+2.9%
59Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$2 billion+7.6%
60Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$1.9 billion+27.3%
61Fruit and vegetable juices$1.9 billion+20.6%
62Sowing seeds, fruits, spores$1.9 billion+13.5%
63Other prepared/preserved vegetables (frozen)$1.9 billion+9.4%
64Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes$1.9 billion-1.6%
65Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$1.9 billion+20%
66Cases, handbags, wallets$1.9 billion+29.2%
67Machinery parts$1.9 billion+26.5%
68Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$1.9 billion+32.1%
69X-ray equipment$1.8 billion-4%
70Industrial preparation machinery$1.8 billion+9.6%
71Miscellaneous machinery$1.8 billion+18.8%
72Propylene/olefin polymers$1.7 billion+27.2%
73Insulated wire/cable$1.7 billion+32%
74Lower-voltage switches, fuses$1.7 billion+20.1%
75Non-alcoholic drinks (not water/juice/milk)$1.7 billion+33.7%
76Footwear (leather)$1.7 billion+17.3%
77Physical/chemical analysis tools$1.7 billion+19.6%
78Butter$1.7 billion+49.3%
79Microphones/headphones/amps$1.7 billion+33.9%
80Lifting/loading machinery$1.7 billion+26.6%
81Other organic cleaning preparations$1.7 billion+19.5%
82Cocoa butter, fat, oil$1.6 billion+1.4%
83Concentrated/sweetened milk, cream$1.6 billion+26.4%
84Flat-rolled stainless steel items$1.6 billion+18%
85Piston engine parts$1.6 billion+17.2%
86Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$1.6 billion+14.1%
87Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$1.5 billion+42.8%
88Print/write/draw inks$1.5 billion+10.7%
89Dates/figs/pineapples/mangoes/avocadoes/guavas$1.5 billion+18.7%
90Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$1.4 billion+18.3%
91Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$1.4 billion+45.9%
92Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$1.4 billion-16.1%
93Paper containers, cellulose wadding$1.4 billion+22.2%
94Nickel (unwrought)$1.4 billion+7.3%
95Miscellaneous iron or steel items$1.4 billion+51.6%
96Provitamins, vitamins$1.4 billion+33.9%
97Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$1.4 billion+22%
98Taps, valves, similar appliances$1.4 billion+24.3%
99Palm oil$1.4 billion+25%
100Bulbs, tubers, roots$1.3 billion+24.9%
101Amino-resins$1.3 billion+37.6%
102Liquid pumps and elevators$1.3 billion+18.7%
103Styrene polymers$1.3 billion+25.9%
104Miscellaneous furniture$1.3 billion+50%
105Fish fillets, pieces$1.3 billion+42.7%
106Ethers$1.3 billion+7.7%
107Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys$1.3 billion+29.7%
108Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$1.3 billion+24.2%
109Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues$1.3 billion-2.1%
110Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$1.3 billion+52.6%
111Trailers$1.2 billion+45.5%
112Zinc (unwrought)$1.2 billion+44.6%
113Gold (unwrought)$1.2 billion-1.6%
114Temperature-change machines$1.2 billion+29.9%
115Live swine$1.2 billion+63.9%
116Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)$1.2 billion+33.9%
117Cermet plates, sticks, tips$1.2 billion+30.8%
118Knitted/crocheted t-shirts, singlets, other vests$1.2 billion+21.8%
119Nitrogenous fertilizers$1.1 billion+13.2%
120Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$1.1 billion+35.5%
121Industrial fatty acids and alcohols$1.1 billion+60.5%
122Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$1.1 billion+7.2%
123Electrical energy$1 billion+33.4%
124Whole fish (frozen)$1 billion+17.8%
125Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods$1 billion+28.6%
126Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$1 billion+40.6%
127Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$1 billion+26.7%
128Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$1 billion+45.9%
129 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $1 billion+46.7%
130Vinyl chloride polymers$997.4 million+12.7%
131Flat-rolled other alloy steel products$995.7 million+19.7%
132Harvest/threshing machinery$990.3 million+35.2%
133Electric water heaters, hair dryers$981.6 million+23.4%
134Fresh or dried citrus fruit$970.7 million+5.8%
135Radioactive chemical elements$965.6 million+4.1%
136Electrical machinery$964.8 million+36%
137Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$961.2 million+16.5%
138Polyamides$956.1 million+23.2%
139Footwear (rubber outer soles)$942.3 million+30.6%
140Miscellaneous preserved fruits$936.2 million+27.9%
141Not concentrated/unsweetened milk, cream$930.8 million+49.4%
142Petroleum gases$930.3 million+25.2%
143Pipe/chewing/snuff tobaccos$926 million-0.5%
144Electric storage batteries$923.5 million+34.2%
145Tufted carpets/textile floor coverings$920.3 million+32.7%
146Copper waste, scrap$911.1 million+21.7%
147Animal/vegetable boiled/dehydrated fats, oils$897.7 million+34.6%
148Ball, roller bearings$897.3 million+13.6%
149Grapes (fresh or dried)$889.2 million+17.4%
150Undenatured ethyl alcohol$888 million+41.4%
151Mechano-therapy appliances$885.2 million+30.4%
152Other measuring/testing machines$883.5 million+45.6%
153Agriculture/forestry hand machinery$870.9 million+49.8%
154Sports equipment$870 million+29.5%
155Perfumes, toilet waters$865.2 million+21%
156Electric motors, generators$863.8 million+29.5%
157Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$855.8 million+14.9%
158Miscellaneous meat (preserved/prepared)$849.6 million+25.6%
159Acrylic polymers$845.2 million+19.4%
160Liquid/gas checking instruments$843.4 million-12.7%
161Footwear (rubber or plastic)$842.2 million+4.6%
162Salted/dried/smoked meat$829.3 million+9.3%
163Hydrocarbon derivatives$828.2 million+60.7%
164Saturated acyclic monocarboxylic acids$811.6 million+20.3%
165Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$808.8 million+16%
166Sauces, mixed condiments, seasonings$808.7 million+15.3%
167Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles$807.6 million+2.5%
168Motorcycles$806.8 million+41.3%
169Potatoes$799.6 million+15.7%
170Other prepared/preserved vegetables (non-frozen)$797.1 million+14%
171Fork-lift trucks, other lifting/handling equipment$796.5 million+35.2%
172Air conditioners$795.8 million+44.6%
173Refrigerators, freezers$787.1 million+35.6%
174Antibiotics$777 million-7.6%
175Interchangeable hand/machine tools$768.7 million+37.3%
176Electron/proton microscopes, diffraction apparatus$762 million+88.9%
177Coffee$754.1 million+39.4%
178Electric generating sets, converters$753.7 million+212.5%
179Reaction initiators, reaction accelerators, catalytics$752.5 million+22.2%
180Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)$751.1 million+17%
181Prefabricated buildings$740 million+57.4%
182Polycarboxylic acids$730.8 million+30.4%
183Apples, pears (fresh)$730 million+36.2%
184Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$729.2 million+30.1%
185Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$725.4 million+20.7%
186Insecticides, herbicides$722.5 million+15.9%
187Onions, garlic, leeks$722 million+8.2%
188Cocoa powder (no added sugar)$718 million+5.6%
189Cocoa beans$709.8 million+17.5%
190Birds' eggs in shell$708.6 million+25.4%
191Margarine$706 million+16.1%
192Transmission shafts, camshafts, crankshafts$703.5 million+33.3%
193Photographic chemicals$703 million+9.9%
194Miscellaneous printed matter$695.8 million+1.5%
195Coated paper$693.5 million+8.1%
196Other machine parts, accessories$675.8 million+37%
197Lenses, prisms, mirrors$672.1 million+4.5%
198Paint/varnish non-aqueous solution$663.9 million+13.1%
199Red meat offal$663.7 million+33.4%
200Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates$663.1 million+11.3%

These 200 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$510.7 billion or over three-quarters by value for all products exported from the Netherlands during 2017.

See also Netherlands Top 10 Imports, Netherlands Top 10 Major Export Companies and Netherlands Top Trading Partners

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 13, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 13, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on August 13, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 13, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of the Netherlands. Accessed on August 13, 2018

Wikipedia, Netherlands. Accessed on August 13, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 13, 2018

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 24, 2016