As a country located in Europe according to CONSTRUCTMATERIALS, the Netherlands is one of the richest countries in the world, even in absolute numbers, and despite its small size. It became the eighth world economic power. It has a very high human development index, over 0.953. It is one of the European countries in which the welfare state is more developed, since the benefits reach the entire population and are of the first level. Its economy is based mainly on services. Agriculture contributes 2% of GDP and is home to 3% of the workforce, industry accounts for 24% of GDP and 21% of labor and services, 74% of GDP and 76% of the force of work.
Despite the low weight of agriculture, the Dutch agricultural landscapes are the most representative of the country. It must be borne in mind that polders are territories reclaimed from the sea in principle for agricultural production. It is a very productive sector, in which all the advances that the green revolution provides to the sector are used to advantage. There are two types of agrarian landscapes: the open, the akker in Limburg and the esser in Drenthe, and the closed landscapes, the kampen in Overijssel and Gelderland. In addition, there are the polders, which is where the channels and typical mills of the country are located. We also find the terpen in ancient polders and the slikke, in the mudflats of the river arms. The main Dutch products are vegetables and flowers, especially the tulip. Tulips are spread across Alsmeer-Hoorn and Haarlem-Leiden. The most important agricultural region is the west of the country, which covers almost continuously with greenhouses from The Hague to Rotterdam and Hoek van Holland. They are very profitable small farms dedicated to horticultural production. These greenhouses are heated by the Dutch gas fields.
Livestock production is also very important. One of the most productive and most widespread breeds of cows throughout Europe is the Dutch, the Friesian breed, from which excellent cheeses are obtained. Thanks to the high productivity of the Friesian cow, a good part of the useful agricultural area of the country is dedicated to pasture and fodder (corn and cereals) for livestock.
Fishing is a powerful sector for the size of the country, but far removed from the great European fishing powers. However, aquaculture has become one of the main economic sectors in the country, especially in the production of mollusks.
Mining resources are very poor, but it has oil and gas deposits in the North Sea and Gróninga, respectively. Oil only guarantees 7% of the country’s consumption, but gas fields cover a large part of the country’s energy needs. There is also an important coal region in the southeast, near the border with Germany.
The industry is one of the most powerful in Europe, with several leading multinationals. It stands out in all types of industries. Metallurgy developed thanks to both coal and iron reaching its important ports. Limburg is the great iron and steel area of the country. Textile and tobacco companies were established in Eindhoven, but this city is famous above all for its household appliance industry, as it is the headquarters of Philips. The chemical industry is also top-notch. It has the Unilever company, which controls 10% of the world cosmetics market, and AZKO, one of the main chemical coatings multinationals. The petrochemical company Shell is Anglo-Dutch capital, and has major refineries in the Rotterdam complex and the mouth of the Zeeland Delta. In addition, the exploitation of the Gróninga gas field.
High technologies and research in classical industries have given the country decisive advantages when it comes to modernizing and making its industry more productive. From the automotive industry to computing, through aeronautics, etc., research is a primary development factor.
The service sector is of vital importance to the Netherlands. Its industrial capacity is so great that the Dutch population is not enough to consume its products, no matter how high its purchasing power. Exports are huge, and its trade balance clearly positive. Its main trading partners are the other members of the European Union, followed by the United States, Japan and the emerging markets of Eastern Europe and Asia. All this guaranteed by a top-level financial sector, both in its private banks and insurance companies, as well as in the Amsterdam and Rotterdam stock exchanges.
The transport network is very dense and fast. Most of the transports are public companies, and public transport is much more popular than in other parts of the world. This is due to the great demographic density of the country, and it is the public powers that feel obliged to guarantee mobility.
In the Netherlands there are the two first commercial ports in the world Rotterdam and Amsterdam, as well as the port of Schiphol and Limburg, which controls half of the traffic on the Rhine. This entire complex has been enhanced with the «Europort», which it has become the great commercial port that gives access to Europe.
The Netherlands has a moderate tourism sector, centered on Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Leiden and the tulip and windmill landscapes of Holland.