Netherlands Economy

The economy of the Netherlands is the 16th largest in the world, with GDP growth averaging almost 4% which is well above the E.U. Average entering a recession only with the European debt crisis. Unemployment is relatively low compared to other European Union countries, hovering around 6%.

The Netherlands have historically had a prosperous economy that remains heavily dependent on foreign trade. Noted for stable industrial relations, low unemployment and inflation rates and a sizable current account surplus, the Netherlands began circulating Euro currency as of January 2002. It is a leading nation in attracting foreign investments.

After 2009, however, the country's strict economic policies were abandoned on account of the world wide issue of credit crises. The banking sector was nationalized and bailed out through government intervention. Austerity measures passed in 2011 were not enough to stabilize the situation, and more have been anticipated as inevitable.

The Netherlands leading export markets are other E.U. countries. Germany, Belgium, France and the U.K. are the largest four. Germany is the Netherlands' most important trade partner.

Services account for more than half of the Netherlands' total income, and are in the transportation, distribution, logistics and financial industries. Industrial activity, including mining, contributes 20% of national product. It is dominated by metalworking, oil refining, chemical and food processing industries.