The Netherlands

Introducing the Netherlands

The Netherlands is one of the world's largest exporters of agricultural and food products, thanks to its innovative agrifood technology. The Dutch agrifood sector is a sustainable source of healthy, safe food that is produced with respect for nature and the environment.

  • The Netherlands is also called Holland.
  • The Netherlands is the smallest country in the European Union.
  • It has a total surface area of over four million hectares.
  • Almost half of its total surface is used for agricultural purposes.


  • It has a population of 17 million inhabitants.
  • The average age is 41 years. Nearly 25% of the population is younger than 20.
  • Life expectancy at birth is 78 years for men and 82 years for women.
  • The biggest city is the capital Amsterdam, with 750,000 residents, followed by Rotterdam and The Hague.
  • One-fifth of the total population has roots outside the country.


  • The Netherlands is one of the world’s wealthiest nations.
  • The economy is internationally-oriented.
  • After the U.S. the Netherlands is the second largest exporter of agricultural products.
  • The Port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe and second largest in the world in terms of cargo transfer.
  • Many international companies are based in the Netherlands.

Agricultural sector

The total value of Dutch agricultural exports was 80,7 billon euros in 2014.

There are more than 50,000 farmers (or agricultural entrepreneurs) in the Netherlands, distributed over various crop and animal sectors such as arable (crop) farming, dairy farming and pig farming.The numbers are declining, the sizes of the farms growing.1.100 of them are growing organic crops on a total area of > 35.000 ha.

The agricultural sector makes up approximately 2,4% of the Dutch economy and provides work and income for more than 200,000 people and many more in related businesses.
The sector has a strong international focus and accounts for almost 20% of the Netherlands’ total export value.

Almost half of the Netherlands’ total land surface of 4.15 million hectares is used as farmland. 55% if used for arable and horticultural crops, 42% is permanent grassland and 2% is used for permanent crops.

Sources 2010-2014: Ministries, Wikipedia, Statistics Netherlands (CBS), Dutch Federation of Agricultural and Horticultural Organisations (LTO), Wageningen University and Research Centre.