Netherlands Top 10 Major Export Companies

Heineken beer bottles

Heineken beer

Despite depressed oil prices from 2015 to most of 2016, the largest export-related company headquartered in the Netherlands is still oil and gas behemoth Royal Dutch Shell.

Two of the other leading Dutch international trade players deal in semiconductors used in computers and other automated equipment, while another two deliver diversified chemicals to global customers.

To give some contextual perspective on recent company performance, the overall value of Dutch exports fell by -10.7% from US$530.6 billion in 2011 to $473.8 billion during 2015. Year over year, the drop was -17.1% from 2014 to 2015.

In the analysis below, we compare the top 10 export-related Dutch companies based on asset values, sales and profitability as of May 2016. Also presented is the city in the Netherlands where each business has its headquarters.

Netherlands Top 10 Major Export Companies


Below are biggest export-related Dutch companies organized by asset value. Shown within parentheses is the primary industry in which each company operates. Also shown is the change in asset value as of May 2016 compared to 2015.

  1. Royal Dutch Shell (oil, gas): US$340.2 billion (down -4.9%)
  2. Unilever (food processing): $56.8 million (down -9.4%)
  3. Heineken Holding (beverages): $41.5 million (down -9.7%)
  4. VimpelCom (telecommunications services): $33.9 million (down -32.8%)
  5. Philips (industrial conglomerate): $33.7 million (down -8.1%)
  6. NXP Semiconductors (semiconductors): $26.4 million (up 311.7%)
  7. KPN (telecommunications services): $19.3 million (down -45.7%)
  8. Akzo Nobel (diversified chemicals): $18.5 million (down -16.3%)
  9. ASML Holding (semiconductors): $15.8 million (down -6.1%)
  10. DSM (diversified chemicals): $13 million (down -22%)

Only one of these massive corporations grew its asset values from 2015 to May 2016, computer chips-maker NXP Semiconductors which more than tripled its asset base with a 311.7% gain.

Asset deterioration ranged from -4.9% retreat for oil and gas titan Royal Dutch Shell to a -45.7% decline for telecommunications services provider KPN.


Sales is the life blood of all business, particularly for firms that compete in the international trade arena.

  1. Royal Dutch Shell: US$264.9 billion (down -41.3%)
  2. Unilever: $59.1 billion (down -10.6%)
  3. Philips: $26.9 billion (down -13.3%)
  4. Heineken Holding: $22.8 billion (down -10.8%)
  5. Akzo Nobel: $16.2 billion (down -16.4%)
  6. VimpelCom: $9.8 billion (down -55.3%)
  7. DSM: $8.6 billion (down -28.7%)
  8. KPN: $8 billion (down -39.8%)
  9. ASML Holding: $7 billion (down -0.4%)
  10. NXP Semiconductors: $6.1 billion (up 27.1%)

Again NXP Semiconductors was the only company to improve its performance from 2015 to May 2016, this time with a 27.1% gain in total sales.

Sales declines ranged from a small -0.4% slowdown for another computer components maker, ASML Holding, to a -55.3% setback for telecommunications services firm VimpelCom.


Despite the sluggish global economy, four of the largest Dutch firms managed to grow their profits as of May 2016. Nine of top 10 posted a profit, while VimpelCom had to endure -$627.6 million in red ink during the most recent period.

  1. Unilever: US$5.4 billion (down -15%)
  2. Heineken Holding: $2.1 billion (up 16.7%)
  3. Royal Dutch Shell: $2.08 billion (down -87.3%)
  4. ASML Holding: $1.8 billion (up 12.5%)
  5. NXP Semiconductors: $1.5 billion (up 410%)
  6. Akzo Nobel: $1.2 billion (up 17%)
  7. Philips: $715.2 million (down -55.3%)
  8. KPN: $574.4 million (down -291.5%)
  9. DSM: $97.6 million (down -75.6%)
  10. VimpelCom: -$627.6 million (loss down -55.2%)

NXP Semiconductors garnered the best percentage profit gain, well ahead of diversified chemicals provider Akzo Nobel, beverages supplier Heineken Holding and another semiconductors industry competitor ASML Holding.

Profitability declines range from -15% for food processor Unilever to a -291.5% for telecom player KPN.


Four of the top export-related companies have their headquarters in Amsterdam, national capital and the largest city in the Netherlands.

  1. Royal Dutch Shell: The Hague
  2. Unilever: Rotterdam
  3. Heineken Holding: Amsterdam
  4. VimpelCom: Amsterdam
  5. Philips: Amsterdam
  6. NXP Semiconductors: Eindhoven
  7. KPN: The Hague
  8. Akzo Nobel: Amsterdam
  9. ASML Holding: Veldhoven
  10. DSM: Heerlen

Located on Holland’s western coast, The Hague serves as home to two other top firms and is also the seat of the Dutch government, parliament, the Supreme Court and the Council of State. Another


Note some of the above company offerings may include products or other than the principal category highlighted within brackets under the Assets tab.

For example, Unilever produces and markets much more than food items. Rather, the scope of Unilever operations encompasses four segments: foods, refreshments, home care and personal care. The latter category includes deodorants as well as skin, hair and oral care products.

See also Netherlands’s Top 10 Exports, Netherlands Top 10 Imports and Netherlands Top Import Partners

Research Sources:
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 individual company profiles, Example of top Dutch company compiled for this study: Royal Dutch Shell. Accessed on January 5, 2017

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on January 5, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on January 5, 2017

Wikipedia, Category: Companies of the Netherlands. Accessed on January 5, 2017

Wikipedia, List of companies of the Netherlands. Accessed on January 5, 2017

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Amsterdam, Netherlands. Accessed on January 5, 2017