Holland is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of chemical products and services. Important raw materials are available or easy to supply while an extensive transportation network provides access to Europe and beyond.
The Netherlands: Chemical portal to Europe
The chemicals industry is one of the leading business sectors in the Netherlands, making a significant contribution to the economy. The Netherlands is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of chemical products and services. Important raw materials are available or easy to supply while an extensive transportation network provides access to Europe and beyond.
Some of the leading chemical companies in the Netherlands are AkzoNobel, Shell, DSM, Purac, MSD, and ECN. Research institutions include TNO, Delft University, Twente University, Wageningen University and Eindhoven University.
Key aspects and strengths
- The competitiveness of the Dutch chemical industry lies in its integrated nature. Chemical companies purchase from – and supply to – one another. They also work together in public-private partnerships on innovation and production and regional clustering;
- The Dutch chemical sector is divided into clusters that combine expertise in specific areas. For example, there is an industrial biotech chemical cluster in the south-west of the Netherlands and a cluster of companies in the area of high performance materials in the south-east of the country. The industrial biotech chemical companies are clustered in the north-east of the Netherlands;
- Within the strong chemical community, companies, knowledge institutions and the government work together on technology. Through ‘open innovation’, the sector constantly works on developing new innovations. It does this through so-called Centres for Open Chemical Innovation (COCI), in which established companies – as well as start-ups and small businesses – develop innovative ideas and test their feasibility. These companies use each other’s infrastructure, services and expertise. The Dutch chemical industry is strongly focused on becoming more sustainable.
Facts and figures
- In 2010, the estimated turnover of the Dutch chemical industry was 47 billion euros, an increase from 38 billion euros in 2009;
- The chemical sector accounts for approximately 3 percent of the Dutch gross domestic product;
- About three quarters of the chemical products produced in the Netherlands are exported. Of that amount, three quarters goes to countries within the European Union and one quarter goes to non-EU countries. In 2009, exports to countries outside the EU increased a significant 4.5 percent;
- The Dutch chemical industry is an innovative sector, with roughly two-thirds of companies delivering product and process innovations;
- The industry spends around 2.5 percent of its turnover on research and development, approximately 1.3 billion euros;
- In 2009, approximately 65,000 people worked in the chemical industry;
- The chemical industry supplied products to a wide range of other industries. Approximately two thirds of the sales of the chemical industry concern basic chemicals.
www.vnci.nl – The Netherlands Chemical Industry Association (VNCI);
www.be-basic.org – BE-Basic: Bio-based, Ecologically Balanced Sustainable Industrial Chemistry;
www.ispt.eu – Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT);
www.polymers.nl – Dutch Polymer Institute (DPI);
www.nwo.nl – TASC Innovation Program;
www.tno.nl – TNO, national research institute.