Netherlands Top 10 Exports

Netherlands Top 10 Exports


A small but mighty player in international trade, Netherlands shipped US$723.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 7.5% increase since 2014 and an 11.6% gain from 2017 to 2018 for the economically powerful European Union member.

From a continental perspective, about three-quarters of Dutch exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while about 10% was sold to importers in Asia. The Netherlands shipped another 5.4% to North American customers, with 2.7% worth going to Africa. Smaller percentages went to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and also to Oceania led by Australia.

Given the Dutch population of 17.2 million people, Netherlands’ total $723.3 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $42,100 for every resident in the northwest European country with a northern coastline along the North Sea.

In macroeconomic terms, the Netherlands’ total exported goods represent 74.6% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($969.2 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 74.6% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 87.3% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Netherlands’ total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that the Netherlands also provided $242.5 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 25% of GDP in PPP. Those metrics include a significant amount of re-exporting activity.

Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for the Netherlands was 3.3% at May 2019, compared to 3.9% 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 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from the Netherlands.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$99.9 billion (13.8% of total exports)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: $97.2 billion (13.4%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $94.3 billion (13%)
  4. Pharmaceuticals: $43.2 billion (6%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $34.9 billion (4.8%)
  6. Vehicles: $29.5 billion (4.1%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: $27.9 billion (3.9%)
  8. Organic chemicals: $25.1 billion (3.5%)
  9. Iron, steel: $16.4 billion (2.3%)
  10. Other chemical goods: $12.3 billion (1.7%)

Netherlands top 10 exports accounted for almost two-thirds (66.5%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Electrical machinery and equipment represents the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 89.2% from 2017 to 2018.

In second place for improving export sales was the pharmaceuticals category via its 82.2% appreciation.

Dutch shipments of mineral fuels including oil rose in value by 78.3%, trailed by the 49.6% increase for organic chemicals sold from the Netherlands.

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.


Overall the Netherlands earned a $76.6 billion trade surplus in 2018, a positive trade balance that swelled by 37.2% over the $55.9 billion surplus one year earlier.

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$15.3 billion (Up by 33.7% since 2017)
  2. Pharmaceuticals: $13.7 billion (Up by 42%)
  3. Plastics, plastic articles: $10.1 billion (Up by 13.6%)
  4. Live trees, plants, cut flowers: $8.3 billion (Up by 6.1%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $8 billion (Up by 50.6%)
  6. Organic chemicals: $7.2 billion (Up by 75.1%)
  7. Dairy, eggs, honey: $5.1 billion (Down by -5.1%)
  8. Vegetables: $5.1 billion (Up by 6.9%)
  9. Meat: $5 billion (Up by 1.4%)
  10. Iron, steel: $3.2 billion (Up by 0.7%)

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$13.8 billion (Up by 28.2% since 2017)
  2. Vehicles: -$5.3 billion (Up by 57.6%)
  3. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$3.1 billion (Up by 57.3%)
  4. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$2.7 billion (Up by 70.8%)
  5. Cereals: -$2.6 billion (Up by 8.8%)
  6. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$2.3 billion (Up by 23.9%)
  7. Wood: -$2.3 billion (Up by 14.1%)
  8. Ores, slag, ash: -$1.2 billion (Up by 11%)
  9. Footwear: -$721 million (Down by -33.2%)
  10. Oil seeds: -$711.5 million (Up by 38.5%)

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, petroleum gases and 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 listings for Dutch suppliers, the following are also examples of relatively smaller companies that ship products from the Netherlands. Shown within parenthesis are products that the Dutch business provides.

  • Bless Ya, Inc (young girls apparel)
  • Ciparo (paper, plastics)
  • Daqso International (toiletries, cosmetics, perfumes)
  • Floorkinderkleding (children clothing)
  • Holland Metals & Raw Materials (non-ferrous metals, steel scrap)
  • King-Boats (inflatable craft)
  • Lagwo Trading Inc NV (crude oil, petroleum)
  • Powerview Technology BV (surveillance products)
  • Raisina Exports (dried fruits, nuts)
  • Shipside Tax Free Cars BV (automobiles)


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 2018. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2017.

RankDutch Export Product2018 Value (US$)Change
1Processed petroleum oils$53.9 billion+22.4%
2Phone system devices including smartphones $40.3 billion+131.4%
3Computers, optical readers$28.6 billion+177.1%
4Medication mixes in dosage$22.6 billion+57.3%
5Integrated circuits/microassemblies$14.3 billion+175%
6Blood fractions (including antisera)$14.2 billion+81.7%
7Crude oil$12.9 billion+19,491%
8Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays)$12.5 billion+29%
9Printing machinery$11.7 billion+26.9%
10Machinery for making semi-conductors$10.2 billion+21.2%
11Cars$9.8 billion+52.5%
12Orthopedic appliances$8.9 billion+14%
13Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)$6.5 billion-6.6%
14Tractors$6.4 billion+14%
15Aluminum (unwrought)$6.3 billion+224.8%
16TV receivers/monitors/projectors$5.7 billion+66.9%
17Turbo-jets$5 billion+14.8%
18Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$4.9 billion+21.3%
19Computer parts, accessories$4.9 billion-25.7%
20Miscellaneous live plants$4.7 billion+11.9%
21Fresh or dried flowers (for bouquets, ornamental)$4.5 billion+7.4%
22Automobile parts/accessories$4.3 billion+23.8%
23Cheese, curd$4.1 billion+1.4%
24Cyclic hydrocarbons$3.9 billion+5.8%
25Coal, solid fuels made from coal$3.9 billion+423.3%
26Trucks$3.5 billion+7.2%
27Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$3.5 billion+15.9%
28Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$3.4 billion+81.4%
29Other food preparations$3.4 billion+12.4%
30Biodiesel$3.3 billion+48.3%
31Ethylene polymers$3.3 billion+6.5%
32Electrical converters/power units$3.2 billion+43.1%
33Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations$3.2 billion+19.9%
34Iron or steel scrap$3.1 billion+12.1%
35Acyclic hydrocarbons$3.1 billion+34.7%
36Fresh or chilled beef$2.9 billion+17.8%
37Iron ferroalloys$2.9 billion+185.3%
38Medication mixes not in dosage$2.9 billion+745.3%
39Unrecorded sound media$2.9 billion+16.7%
40Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$2.8 billion+69.7%
41TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$2.8 billion+15.7%
42Poultry meat$2.8 billion+7.3%
43Table games, bowling equipment$2.7 billion+382.1%
44Yachts, other pleasure/sports vessels$2.6 billion+30.7%
45Rubber tires (new)$2.5 billion+6.6%
46Chemical industry products/residuals$2.5 billion+36.3%
47Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$2.5 billion+0.6%
48Miscellaneous plastic items$2.5 billion+27%
49X-ray equipment$2.4 billion+46.4%
50Miscellaneous machinery$2.3 billion+33.7%
51Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$2.3 billion+289.2%
52Other diagnostic/lab reagents$2.3 billion+18.1%
53Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods$2.3 billion+294.5%
54Acyclic alcohols$2.3 billion+10.7%
55Cases, handbags, wallets$2.2 billion+40.9%
56Refined copper, unwrought alloys$2.2 billion+287.4%
57Industrial preparation machinery$2.2 billion+21.4%
58Sowing seeds, fruits, spores$2.2 billion+15.9%
59Swine meat$2.1 billion-1.1%
60Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$2.1 billion+18.7%
61Fruit and vegetable juices$2.1 billion+35.3%
62Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$2.1 billion+12.4%
63Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$2.1 billion+29%
64Miscellaneous fresh/chilled vegetables$2 billion+0.7%
65Propylene/olefin polymers$2 billion+19.8%
66Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$2 billion+5.7%
67Malt beer$2 billion+5.7%
68Insulated wire/cable$2 billion+51.8%
69Liquid pumps and elevators$2 billion+54.7%
70Microphones/headphones/amps$2 billion+266.5%
71Lower-voltage switches, fuses$2 billion+22.7%
72Other prepared/preserved vegetables (frozen)$1.9 billion+3.8%
73Lifting/loading machinery$1.9 billion+18.2%
74Physical/chemical analysis tools$1.9 billion+22.5%
75Tomatoes$1.9 billion-2.8%
76Iron ores, concentrates$1.9 billion+7,982%
77Air or vacuum pumps$1.9 billion+5.9%
78Non-alcoholic drinks (not water/juice/milk)$1.9 billion+13.3%
79Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$1.9 billion+29.9%
80Nickel (unwrought)$1.9 billion+300.8%
81Machinery parts$1.9 billion+4.2%
82Aircraft parts$1.8 billion-11.5%
83Footwear (leather)$1.8 billion+15.2%
84Other organic cleaning preparations$1.8 billion+13.6%
85Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$1.8 billion+35.4%
86Butter, milk-derived fats/oils$1.8 billion+4.4%
87Flat-rolled stainless steel items$1.8 billion+21%
88Print/write/draw inks$1.7 billion+20.7%
89Piston engine parts$1.7 billion+11.3%
90Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$1.7 billion+170.4%
91Dates/figs/pineapples/mangoes/avocadoes/guavas$1.6 billion+38%
92Provitamins, vitamins$1.6 billion+468.3%
93Miscellaneous iron or steel items$1.6 billion+29.7%
94Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$1.6 billion+7.2%
95Miscellaneous furniture$1.5 billion+27.2%
96Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes$1.5 billion+44.3%
97Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$1.5 billion+38.9%
98Cocoa butter, fat, oil$1.5 billion-7.2%
99Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$1.5 billion+40.2%
100Concentrated/sweetened milk, cream$1.5 billion-9.4%
101Taps, valves, similar appliances$1.5 billion+14%
102Fish fillets, pieces$1.4 billion+53.2%
103Zinc (unwrought)$1.4 billion+78.4%
104T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$1.4 billion+46.9%
105Paper containers, cellulose wadding$1.4 billion-1.6%
106Ethers$1.4 billion+6.9%
107Amino-resins$1.4 billion+4.7%
108Bulbs, tubers, roots$1.4 billion-0.2%
109Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$1.4 billion+24.3%
110Temperature-change machines$1.4 billion+16.2%
111Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues$1.3 billion+10.4%
112Trailers$1.3 billion+8.1%
113Styrene polymers$1.3 billion+0.4%
114Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)$1.3 billion+23.8%
115Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$1.3 billion+55.8%
116Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$1.3 billion+31.1%
117Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys$1.3 billion+11.4%
118Cermet plates, sticks, tips$1.3 billion+264.8%
119Footwear (textile)$1.3 billion+47.3%
120Petroleum gases$1.2 billion+35.5%
121Motorcycles$1.2 billion+60%
122Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$1.2 billion+30.7%
123Electrical machinery$1.2 billion+69.3%
124Radioactive chemical elements$1.2 billion+39.1%
125Flat-rolled other alloy steel products$1.2 billion+20.8%
126Nitrogenous fertilizers$1.2 billion+6%
127Palm oil$1.2 billion-4.8%
128Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$1.2 billion+13%
129Air conditioners$1.1 billion+49.4%
130Industrial fatty acids and alcohols$1.1 billion+18%
131Electric water heaters, hair dryers$1.1 billion+31.7%
132Electric storage batteries$1.1 billion+49.3%
133Vinyl chloride polymers$1.1 billion+12%
134 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $1.1 billion+12.1%
135Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$1.1 billion+34.8%
136Polyamides$1.1 billion+14.3%
137Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$1.1 billion+22.9%
138Fresh or dried citrus fruit$1.1 billion+34.5%
139Mechano-therapy appliances$1.1 billion+45.7%
140Whole fish (frozen)$1 billion+22.3%
141Grapes (fresh or dried)$1 billion+51.5%
142Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$1 billion+27.1%
143Ball, roller bearings$1 billion+31.4%
144Pipe/chewing/snuff tobaccos$1 billion+62%
145Sports equipment$1 billion+28.6%
146Miscellaneous preserved fruits$1 billion+14.3%
147Harvest/threshing machinery$1 billion+0.9%
148Tufted carpets/textile floor coverings$1 billion+11.9%
149Not concentrated/unsweetened milk, cream$989 million+4.1%
150Molybdenum ores, concentrates$980.1 million+265.7%
151Hydrocarbon derivatives$976.3 million+27.3%
152Agriculture/forestry/poultry/bee machinery$964.2 million+12.1%
153Sauces, mixed condiments, seasonings$961.4 million+20.5%
154Electric motors, generators$943.9 million+51.7%
155Copper waste, scrap$943 million+8.1%
156Live swine$934.2 million-19.4%
157Acrylic polymers$925.3 million+20.1%
158Refrigerators, freezers$923.6 million+33.1%
159Other measuring/testing machines$918 million+12.6%
160Footwear (rubber or plastic)$900.5 million+13.4%
161Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$897.4 million+12%
162Interchangeable hand/machine tools$896 million+104.7%
163Apples, pears (fresh)$859 million+48.6%
164Other prepared/preserved vegetables (non-frozen)$857.4 million+9.1%
165Electron/proton microscopes$854.8 million+12.4%
166Saturated acyclic mono acids$851.1 million+29.2%
167Animal/vegetable fats, oils$833.5 million+7.9%
168Coffee$831.7 million+12.5%
169Onions, garlic, leeks$830.3 million+16.4%
170Liquid/gas checking instruments$829.5 million+1.5%
171Miscellaneous meat (preserved/prepared)$829.2 million+0.5%
172Electric generating sets, converters$821.6 million+132.2%
173Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$820.5 million+16.1%
174Ethyl alcohol$815.6 million-6.6%
175Birds' eggs in shell$813.1 million+12.8%
176Initiators/accelerators, catalytic preps$810.4 million+13%
177Potatoes$807.4 million+1.3%
178Polycarboxylic acids$804.6 million+23.7%
179Salted/dried/smoked meat$802.8 million-2%
180Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$802.1 million+17.2%
181Other machine parts, accessories$793 million+105.5%
182Perfumes, toilet waters$771.1 million+13.3%
183Fork-lift trucks$769.7 million-0.3%
184Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)$767.6 million+15.7%
185Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles$766.2 million-4.1%
186Epoxides$760.3 million+20.7%
187Coated paper$750.8 million+20.9%
188Synthetic filament yarn$739.2 million+618.9%
189Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$734.3 million+49%
190Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$732.4 million+15.6%
191Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$728 million+25.5%
192Paint/varnish non-aqueous solution$720.3 million+18.4%
193Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates$719.3 million+19.1%
194Photographic chemicals$708.8 million+1.3%
195Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$706.3 million+8.3%
196TV/radio/radar device parts$700.4 million+37.5%
197Prefabricated buildings$692.5 million-5%
198Antibiotics$689.3 million+385.6%
199Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners$686.8 million+10.3%
200Cocoa powder (no added sugar)$684.4 million-4.6%

These 200 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$567.8 billion or over three-quarters (78.6%) by value for all products exported from the Netherlands during 2018.

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

Research Sources:
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 20, 2019 The Online Market for G20 Importers, Netherlands Import Export Directory. Accessed on March 20, 2019

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 28, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 20, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on June 28, 2019

Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 28, 2019

Wikipedia, List of Companies of the Netherlands. Accessed on March 20, 2019

Wikipedia, Netherlands. Accessed on March 20, 2019

Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 28, 2019