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Dutch exports surpass all others except Germany’s

Europe's number two

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ROTTERDAM - The Netherlands has overtaken France as the second largest exporter in the EU. Only Germany’s export value is higher than Dutch export totals. In 2007, The Netherlands still ranked third behind Germany and France. The increase in the value of Dutch exports was also large when compared to other EU countries. Analysts attribute the country’s increased exports in part to its significant role as distributor of goods to the European hinterland. Eurostat, the source of the data, coins the phenomenon as the "Rotterdam effect." Nearly half of the Dutch exports belong to the category of the so-called re-exports which arrive in Dutch ports and are shipped out again in one form or other.

In 2008, The Netherlands exported nearly as much on its own as did twelve new members of the EU together: about 430 billion euros. These exports included such goods as computers, medicines and natural gas. Germany remained Europe’s undisputed economic power house, however, with exports valued at 994 billion euros. In 2008, France came in third with 412 billion euros.


In 2008, Dutch export values rose by 7 percent over the 2007 statistics. On average, the growth in the fifteen older EU member countries came in at 2 percent. In contrast, exports from the new EU Member States averaged 11 percent.

The fourth quarter of 2008 revealed dropping export statistics. Dutch exports dropped 5 percent from a comparable period in 2007, while those in Germany came in 6 percent lower, France -7 percent, Belgium -8.5 percent, the United Kingdom –11 percent with most other member countries dropping even more sharply.

The high level of the Netherlands among exporting countries is attributable in part to the important role trade plays in the Dutch economy. Dutch importers buy, for example, Chinese computers and then sell them to other European countries. The Dutch also import crude oil and refine it in the Rotterdam area, turning byproducts into saleable commodities. Nearly half of the Dutch export volume represents re-exports, whereas exports by other countries are primarily goods produced by them domestically.