The Netherlands has always been known for its innovation. As a leader in a wide variety of fields including agriculture, high tech, logistics and trade, water, energy, business, and much more, this small country has made quite a big name for itself globally. The strong cooperation between government, industry, and higher education has made it possible for the country to advance and innovate in many different sectors and is the driving force behind the country’s global reputation.
Here are some of the things that the Netherlands is best known for, along with some facts that you might have never guessed.
- Eindhoven was named the world’s most intelligent region in 2011.
- The Netherlands is the world’s leader in designing, making, and developing high-tech equipment and micro/nano components.
- The Netherlands is in the top 3 countries in the field of nanoscience, alongside Switzerland and the USA.
- The Dutch have the highest percentage of connected households in the world, with around 94% of the population having a broadband connection.
- Dutch companies invented the CD, the DVD, WiFi, and Bluetooth.
- The Netherlands is the best European country in ICT sector.
- Dutch infrastructure is among the best in the world, ranking 1st in water, 4th in air, and 9th in rail infrastructure in 2012.
- Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is the 3rd largest in Europe in terms of transported freight weight and it won the title of Europe’s best airport for the 3rd time in 2012.
- The port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and the 4th largest port worldwide.
- The Dutch fleet of ships is the biggest and most modern in Europe.
- The Netherlands makes up 14% of international road transport in the EU.
- The Netherlands is ranked highly in various world rankings, including coming in 1st for the density of their road network, 2nd for quality of water transportation, agri-food export, and number of broadband connections, 4th for logistics performance and largest seaport, 5th for export of goods, 7th for export of commercial services, 8th for import of commercial services, 9th for import of goods, and 10th for foreign direct investment.
- Dutch farmers produce 2.5 times more food per acre than other EU farmers produce on average.
- The Dutch have almost 17 million inhabitants. Average yearly income per capita in 2011 was $42,838, totally over $770 billion in GDP.
- There is over $589 billion worth of foreign investment in the country while Dutch investment abroad totalled over $739 billion in 2012.
- Over 87% of Dutch people over the age of 15 speak English and 66% speak German next to their own language.
- The Netherlands aims to become Europe’s biofuel hub, using the Port of Rotterdam as the logistical, petrochemical, and industrial centre.
- 3.9 million tonnes of biodiesel and 1.4 million tonnes of bioethanol went through the Port of Rotterdam for local use and trade in 2012.
- The Netherlands has Europe’s most dense gas distribution network. The total length of pipelines in the country could circle the planet 3.8 times.
- Dutch industry is one of the most energy-efficient in the world thanks to voluntary agreements with government bodies.
- In 2011, 9.7% of the country’s electricity consumption was produced from renewable energy sources such as bioenergy and wind energy.
- 21% of the Netherlands’ area and 21% of its population is located below sea level.
- 70% of the Dutch GDP is generated below sea level.
- The Dutch are experts in hydraulic engineering, flood control, flood protection, foundation technology, and infrastructure.
- The Dutch Delta Works are the world’s largest flood defence project, covering 16,500 km with almost 300 structures.
- 99.9% of Dutch households have access to clean, entirely chlorine-free drinking water.
- The Netherlands is the most geographically concentrated Life Sciences & Health region in the world with 350 companies within a 120 mile radius.
- The country is a global market leader in mobile healthcare.
- €37 billion worth of pharmaceuticals, medical technology, and medical and laboratory instruments are exported out of the country yearly.
- The Netherlands ranks 8th worldwide in Life Sciences and Health patents.
- “Cradle-to-grave” health care is available in the Netherlands where citizens have access to high quality, affordable and accessible care from birth to death.
- Dutch creative industries employ around 172,000 people and make up almost 2% of the country’s economy.
- 66% of these people are self-employed.
- The Netherlands is the “jeans country” and Amsterdam is the “jeans capital” of the world, with the highest number of jeans companies per square kilometer.
- 35% of total spending in Europe in the online games market comes from the Netherlands.
- The Netherlands is the 3rd largest exporter of television formats in the world, creating shows such as Big Brother, Deal or No Deal, the Voice, and more.
Agriculture & Food
- The Netherlands produces more onions than any other country in the world!
- It’s also the 2nd largest exporter of agriculture and food product, 2nd only to the US.
- The country exports ¼ of the world’s tomatoes.
- 26% of the €75.4 billion that the Netherlands made in 2012 from agri-food exports came from its neighbouring country, Germany.
- The agri-food sector contributes almost 10% to the economy, adding €52.2 billion to the Dutch GDP, and 10% to employment in the Netherlands, creating jobs and income for over 660,000 people.
- Holland is the best country in the world to access good food according to Oxfam's "Good Enough to Eat" index.
- The Dutch are international market leaders and trendsetters in flowers, plants, bulbs, and propagation material.
- 24% of the world’s horticulture trade is in Dutch hands.
- 50% of the world’s floriculture trade is in Dutch hands, making the Netherlands the dominant supplier of flowers and flower products at the global level.
- The Netherlands is the world’s leader in greenhouse horticulture, onion production, fresh vegetable export, tree and shrub varieties, seed production, and flower and plant auctioning.
- The country exports 4.3 billion tulip bulbs and 4.6 billion kilos of vegetables every year.
- An “open innovation” approach allows Dutch chemical companies to constantly develop new products and processes.
- More than 50% of Dutch chemical industry revenue comes from producing base chemicals, with another 20% coming from pharmaceutical products.
- 80% of chemicals produced in the Netherlands are exported, and 80% of those go to other EU countries.
- The export of chemical products makes up 18% of the total goods export.
- Around ⅔ of companies working in the Dutch chemical sector make innovations to both products and processes.
These achievements are possible first of all due to the Dutch education system, which allows students to develop their talents and skills in full and to become world class professionals and scientists.