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Netherlands Economy

    Economy—overview: This prosperous and open economy is based on private enterprise with the government's presence felt in many aspects of the economy. Industrial activity features food processing, petroleum refining, and metalworking. The highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 4% of the labor force, but provides large surpluses for export and the domestic food-processing industry. As a result, the Netherlands ranks third worldwide in value of agricultural exports, behind the US and France. Sharp cuts in subsidy and social security spending since the 1980s helped the Dutch achieve sustained economic growth combined with falling unemployment and moderate inflation. The economy achieved a strong 3.7% growth in 1998; a dip in the business cycle probably will cause the economy to decelerate to slightly over 2% growth in 1999. Unemployment in 1999 is expected to be less than 5% of the labor force, and inflation probably will decline. The Dutch joined the first wave of 11 EU countries launching the euro system on 1 January 1999.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$348.6 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 3.7% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$22,200 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 3.2%
    industry: 27.5%
    services: 69.3% (1998 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 2.9%
    highest 10%: 24.7% (1991)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2% (1998)

    Labor force: 7 million (1998 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: services 73%, manufacturing and construction 23%, agriculture 4% (1998 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 4.1% (1998 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $163 billion
    expenditures: $170 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)

    Industries: agroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics, fishing

    Industrial production growth rate: 2.4% (1998)

    Electricity—production: 83.3 billion kWh (1997)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 94.51%
    hydro: 0.1%
    nuclear: 4.95%
    other: 0.44% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 90.366 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 700 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 11.3 billion kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: grains, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, vegetables; livestock

    Exports: $160 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Exports—commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, food and tobacco

    Exports—partners: EU 78% (Germany 27%, Belgium-Luxembourg 13%, France 11%, UK 10%, Italy 6%), Central and Eastern Europe, US (1997)

    Imports: $142 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Imports—commodities: machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, fuels, consumer goods

    Imports—partners: EU 61% (Germany 21%, Belgium-Luxembourg 11%, UK 10%), US 9%, Central and Eastern Europe (1997)

    Debt—external: $0

    Economic aid—donor: ODA, $2.9 billion (1997)

    Currency: 1 Netherlands guilder, gulden, or florin (f.) = 100 cents; note—on 1 January 2002 to be replaced by the euro

    Exchange rates: Netherlands guilders, gulden, or florins (f.) per US$1—1.8904 (January 1999), 1.9837 (1998), 1.9513 (1997), 1.6859 (1996), 1.6057 (1995), 1.8200 (1994)
    note: on 1 January 1999, the European Union introduced a common currency that is now being used by financial institutions in some member countries at the rate of 0.8597 euros per US$ and a fixed rate of 2.20371 guilders per euro; the euro will replace the local currency in consenting countries for all transactions in 2002

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)