Dutch agricultural sector world’s 2nd largest & growing

The total value of agricultural exports from the Netherlands grew to a record 79 billion euros in 2013, up five per cent from 2012.

These figures, from the Dutch Agricultural Research Institute, were announced by Minister for Agriculture Sharon Dijksma at International Green Week in Berlin in January. "The Netherlands is a world leader in agriculture and, after the United States, the largest exporter of agricultural products in the world," she said.

Most Dutch food exported to Europe

Eighty per cent of Dutch agricultural exports are sent to the 27 countries of the European Union.

Germany is the largest trading partner, receiving 28,5 per cent of the products to a value of 22,4 billion euros. Main exports to Germany include meat, dairy products and eggs, horticultural products, and fruit and vegetables, and have risen by five per cent in the last year.

Worldwide, the Netherlands is responsible for 22 per cent of the world’s export potatoes.

Facts about Dutch agriculture

 The agricultural sector in the Netherlands constitutes around 10 per cent of the Dutch economy and employs more than 660.000 people, 50.000 of which are farmers.

 More than half of the total 4,15 million hectares of land in the Netherlands is used as farmland: 56 per cent for arable and horticultural crops, 42 per cent for permanent grassland and two per cent for permanent crops.

 There were more than 10.000 hectares of greenhouses in the Netherlands in 2010, half of which were used for growing vegetables.

 The Dutch agri-food industry accounts for some 20 per cent of the Netherlands’ total export value and has the second highest private R&D investment rate in Europe.

 Four of the world’s top 25 food and beverage companies are Dutch, while 12 others also have a major production site or R&D facility in the Netherlands.

 The Food Valley region in Gelderland is one of the most authoritative agri-food and nutrition centres in Europe, and two Dutch universities are in the top 10 in Europe for publications on agri-food subjects.

 In a recent study by the charity Oxfam, the Netherlands was found to be the world’s number one country for plentiful, affordable food.

Sources: Government of the Netherlands, Holland Trade

Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

Read more



Leave a comment

Karthik Devaraj 09:04 | 27 January 2018

Is it possible for expats to do farming in Netherlands? Please let me know, if you have any idea