Netherlands located in the North West Europe is sometimes also referred to as Holland. Netherlands has stretch of low lying fertile land; one fifth of its land area is under the sea level, but most part of it is very much suited for agriculture. Trade, services, and energy industry are some of the economic sector contributing towards Netherlands’ total GDP. The country has sixteenth largest economy in the world. And the annual GDP of the country has been almost four percent more than the European average. The country also enjoys an open trade and is among the top free market capitalist economy in the world.
Netherlands has a work force of about eleven million skilled and educated people, most of them working in the service sector (78 percent). The next field, industry, has about 18 percent of the work force under it and only about four percent of the people are involved in agriculture and other fields. The unemployment rate (3.3 %) of the country is at the lowest when compared with the other countries of the European Union. The people here enjoy a better status of life and the number of people below the poverty line is just around one percent in Netherlands.
The land of Netherlands is much suited for cultivation of food grains and fruits and vegetables. The agricultural sector employs only a mere 4 percent of the labour force in the country but they produce a surplus of agricultural commodities which are used inside the country and exported outside it at a large scale. The surplus of agricultural products are obtained from the country with a very little labor input, because of the very well mechanized agricultural set up within Netherlands. The main crops exported by the country are cucumber, tomatoes, chilies and apples. Wheat, potatoes, sugar beet and livestock are the other major agricultural products of the country. Fishing and agro-based food processing are also an important part of the Netherlands Economy.
Netherlands is among the major natural gas producer in Europe (producing 30 % of total natural gas produced in Europe), and is ranked the second natural gas producer in the continent. It is also ranked among the ten largest producers of natural gas in the world. One third of the natural gas produced in the country is exported and Netherlands is now fifth largest natural gas exporter worldwide. Due to the abundance of natural gas, only about four percent of the total electricity generated in the country depends on nuclear power.
As in most of the European country, service is the major sector of Netherlands and majority of the population depends on this sector for their livelihood. More than 8 million people are engaged in the service sector of Netherlands which contributes about 74 percentage of the GDP of the country. This sector which takes up 78 percent of the work force is a dominant sector in the economy and includes services like, finance, insurance and banking, logistics, distribution, tourism, transportation and computer related and telecommunication industries.
Industries and the manufacturing sector also contribute generously towards the country's GDP. The food industry is well developed in the country due to the surplus of the agricultural products and these processed agricultural items have a great demand in the foreign market. Petroleum refining industry, chemical and electrical industry, and microelectronics are the other major industries in Netherlands. The income obtained from the industrial unit accounts for about 25 % of the total GDP which is contributed by 18 % people of the country. The government of Netherlands is encouraging the introduction and the growth of novel industries in the country like biotech industry, microelectronics and aerospace industry.
About 66 percent of the revenue towards the country is obtained through foreign trade. This trade related economy of Netherlands faced a quick fall in the total GDP of the country in the year 2009 due to the effect of recession and about 30 million reduction was observed in the GDP when compared with the year 2008. The major export partner of Netherlands which provides the market for one fourth of the country's products is Germany. Belgium, UK and France are the other important trade partners (export). Netherlands also depends on a number of imported goods, and here too, Germany, providing 17 % import goods is the best import partner of Netherlands. Belgium, China and US are some of the other countries which supplies commodities to Netherlands. The total export of Netherlands during 2009 accounted for 397.8 billion US dollars and the import to the country the same year was 358 billion US dollars.