Netherlands Industry

Industry matters less to the Dutch economy than the sector does in many comparable states. The largest in the manufacturing industry is the production of food.

The chemical engineering industry with products such as paint and detergents is also significant, as is the petrochemical industry, with large refineries at Rotterdam harbor.

The Netherlands is the base for some of the world’s largest multinational companies, such as Philips (electronics and more), the oil company Royal Dutch Shell, the food group Unilever and the brewery giant Heineken.

The industry is strongly focused on exports, especially to Germany. Industrial production is largely based on imported raw materials.

  • COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Netherlands. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.




“Attorney murder evidence of narcotics”

September 18

The murder of a defense lawyer in a major drug case causes representatives of a police union to claim that the Netherlands has become a “drug state”. The 44-year-old lawyer who was shot to death outside his home in Amsterdam represented a Crown witness in a major case against two men who are wanted for murder and drug trafficking. According to the NPB Police Department, the murder is an attack on the rule of law.


Canned bans will take effect

1 August

A ban on covering the face in public places takes effect. Violations of the law can result in fines. The Ministry of the Interior calls on local authorities to ensure that the law is complied with – but both hospital employees and even some police officers have already said they will not act on the matter. The law is generally seen as an attempt to prevent the use of can (see June 2018).


HD reduces damages for Srebrenica relatives

July 19

The Supreme Court (HD) decides that the Netherlands was partly responsible for part of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia in 1995. This applies to 350 Muslim men and boys who had sought protection from the Dutch peacekeeping UN troops and who were killed after being handed over to Bosnian Serbian troops. HD thus goes along the same lines as lower courts (see June 27, 2017), but reduces the damages. The reason is that HD finds that the Muslims would have had a 10 percent chance of surviving if they were allowed to stay, and the state should therefore pay 10 percent of the damages – when the appellate court reached 30 percent. A total of 8,000 men and boys were killed in Srebrenica.


The railway company compensates Holocaust victims

June 26

The state railway company NS states that tens of millions of euros have been set aside to pay compensation to victims of the Holocaust and their relatives. The company made big money in transporting around 107,000 Dutch Jews to the Nazi camps, of which only 5,000 survived. NS apologized in 2005 for its role during World War II but has only now decided on compensation. The around 500 survivors who remain alive should receive EUR 15,000 each, while children and spouses can receive between EUR 5,000 and EUR 7,000.


The government loses majority in the Senate

May 27th

The indirect election to the Senate is held in the twelve provinces. In accordance with the results of the provincial elections (see March 2019), the newly formed Right-wing Nationalist Democracy Forum (FVD) is going strong and becoming equal with the right-wing Liberal government party VVD; both parties receive twelve seats each. Of the VVD’s coalition partners, CDA receives nine seats, Dem ’66 7 seats and CU four seats. The government thus loses its majority in the Senate.

EU elections with unexpected results

May 23

In the election to the European Parliament, the Social Democratic Labor Party is unexpectedly the largest with around 19 percent of the vote and 6 seats. The PvdA’s result represents a substantial upswing compared to both the 2014 European elections and the 2017 parliamentary elections. A contributing reason is that Dutch Social Democrat Frans Timmermans is one of the top candidates to become the new EU Commission President. Opinion polls had pointed out that the right-wing populist FVD would challenge the ruling Liberal VVD over the site as the largest party. But The VVD gets 15 percent of the votes and 4 seats, the Christian Democratic CDA 12 percent and 4 seats, while the FVD comes in fourth place with 11 percent and 3 seats. Then follow the Green Left with 3 mandates, the Left Liberal D66 with 2 mandates, the Christian Right List CU-SGP 2 mandates, the Animal Rights Party PvdD 1 mandate and the Pensioners Party 50+ 1 mandate.

The Minister of Migration resigns

May 21

Migration Minister Mark Harbers resigns following protests against the drafting of a report on crimes committed by asylum seekers. The controversy is a serious setback for the government just days before the EU election, where the anti-immigration Forum for Democracy sails. In the report, serious crimes such as murder, murder and sexual abuse are clustered together under the heading “other” while, for example, snatching had its own category. Critics say it is an attempt to darken the facts, while Habers says there was no intention of the headlines.


Populist party strongly advanced in provincial elections

March 20

An anti-immigrant populist party, the Forum for Democracy, is making strong progress in elections in the twelve provinces. The consequence is expected that the government will lose its majority when the indirect election to the first chamber is held in May (see Political system). Party leader of the Democracy Forum, Thierry Baudet, has taken a sharp attack on Prime Minister Mark Rutte for an immigration policy which he claims poses a threat to security. Baudet has been criticized for continuing to campaign after the suspected terrorist council in Utrecht two days before the election.

Suspected terrorist attack

March 18th

Three people are shot to death on a tram in Utrecht in what is suspected to be a terror attack. A person who is severely injured dies ten days later. A few hours after the deed, a 37-year-old man who confesses to crime is arrested. In a letter written before the deed, he has stated that he wants to defend his faith against those who want to “kill Muslims”.

First national climate march

March 10

Around 40,000 people are expected to take part in what is described as the first national demonstration with demands for action against climate change. Greenpeace and other environmental organizations are behind the march in Amsterdam. In February, 15,000 students took part in a school strike with the same demands. The Netherlands is particularly exposed to rising sea levels, as parts of the country are below sea level.

Iranian ambassador is called home

4th of March

The government calls the ambassador to Tehran because of suspicions that Iranian agents murdered exiled Iranians in the Netherlands. According to Foreign Minister Stef Blok, in February, Iran decided to expel two Dutch diplomats, something that was not previously known. This was in turn seen as a result of the Netherlands expelling two Iranian embassy employees in June 2018 due to suspicions of the exile murders, which occurred in 2015 and 2017. The government in Tehran has constantly denied involvement in the murders. In early 2019, the EU imposed sanctions on an Iranian intelligence unit, as well as two people accused of involvement in the murders in the Netherlands, as well as assaults in other EU countries.


Srebrenica verdict can be revoked

February 1st

The Dutch state cannot be held responsible for the deaths of 350 Muslim men in Srebrenica in Bosnia in 1995, according to the prosecutor. The statement constitutes a recommendation to the Supreme Court whose members are not bound by it, but who generally follow such recommendations. The judiciary has previously in two instances sentenced the Netherlands to pay damages to relatives of the men (see June 27, 2017).


The government has special Brexit powers

January 29th

Parliament adopts a controversial law that gives the government extraordinary powers – if Britain’s exit from the EU, Brexit, occurs without an agreement with the Union. The government’s expanded rights make it possible to change laws without Parliament’s approval. The government had requested such powers for one year but had to settle for six months. The Netherlands has close trade relations with the United Kingdom and the concern is great for far-reaching consequences if the UK’s exit on March 29 takes place without an agreement. Preparations have already been made, including EUR 100 million earmarked for 900 new duties in the customs system, etc.

Netherlands Industry

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