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NetherlandsNetherlands Observer

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is located in north-western Europe. Its capital is Amsterdam, while the Dutch Government and Parliament are located in The Hague. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. The Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy since 1815 and a parliamentary democracy since 1848. The head of state is King Willem – Alexander.
The Netherlands has a very strong open innovative economy that has relied on international trade for many centuries. In terms of surface area and population size, the Netherlands is not a particularly large country but with the fifth most competitive economy in the world and being the fifth largest exporter of goods in the world, the Netherlands occupies a prominent position when it comes to world trade. The Netherlands also imports large quantities of goods: with a 3.4% share of the global total, the country is the seventh-largest importer of goods in the world. Dutch businesses are truly international in their orientation; the country provides a home for around 6,300 foreign companies.

The Netherlands holds strong global positions in the Agri-Food, Horticulture, High-Tech, Energy, Logistics, Creative industries, Life Sciences & Health, Chemicals, and Water sectors. With its airport Schiphol in Amsterdam and the main seaport of Rotterdam the Netherlands is one of the main gate ways into Europe.

The energy sector contributes substantially to the Dutch national income, exports and employment. The government has therefore opted for a modern industry policy aimed at making better use of the economic opportunities for both green and grey energy. The Netherlands has embraced a courageous vision: by 2050, the country will have a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy system.

Innovation and public-private partnerships are key to the Dutch approach: the government, private sector, and academia co-operate on the following priority topics: energy savings in industry and the built environment, gas, smart grids, wind at sea, solar energy and bio energy. The Netherlands is experimenting with energy from waves, algae and biomass and the Dutch have developed innovative solutions in decentralised energy production in greenhouses, CO2 ‘recycling’ and waste heat utilisation for their energy intensive horticulture industry.

The Netherlands has established itself as a pivotal player in the European gas market. The country is not only a major natural gas producer and the source of advanced gas technology, it is also Europe’s leading gas broker. Fifty years of experience in organising public-private partnerships to manage the gas business have turned the country into a European gas hub. The Dutch gas fields and storages have unmatched capacity to cope with seasonal fluctuations in gas demand, providing north-western Europe with much-needed flexibility. Renowned institutes such as the Groningen Energy Delta Institute train people from all across the globe. In addition, the Netherlands is establishing itself as leader in green gas.

Almost 30 percent of the European Union’s gas production comes from the Netherlands and this covers 10 to 15 percent of the gas consumed in the Europe Union. Proven natural gas reserves of the Netherlands are estimated (as of 2012) at about 1.13 trillion cubic meters. Total gas exports in 2012 totalled 57.263 billion cubic meters. ‘Green gas’ technology, the gasification of biomass, has been patented by Dutch energy company ECN. Studies indicate that about 10 percent of the Dutch natural gas consumed can be replaced by biogas by 2020. In 2010, the annual production of green gas from biogas increased from 16 to 37 million Nm3. The distribution network for gas is the most dense in Europe and of very high quality, with a total length of 12,200 kilometres of transmission pipelines and 136,400 kilometres of distribution pipelines.

Photo: Amsterdam

Major Indicators

Land (1000 sq km) 33,760 
Head of State King Willem-Alexander
Population 16,730,348
Capital Amsterdam
Language(s) Dutch(official)
National currency Euro
Energy sources Natural gas
GDP per capita in Euro  35,415
GDP billion in Euro  607 
GDP growth % (2011) 0.90%
Value of exports of goods and services in billion Euro 531
Value of petroleum exports n/a
Value of gas exports n/a
Current account balance  42.702
Proven crude oil reserves (billion barrels) 0.15
Crude oil production (1,000 b/d) 38.5
Refinery capacity (1,000 b/d) 2.995 
Output of petroleum products (1,000 b/d) (2011) 1,252.50
Consumption of petroleum products (1,000 b/d) (2011) 680.2
Crude oil exports (1,000 b/d) 57.2 
Exports of petroleum products (1,000 b/d)   2,214.9 
Proven natural gas reserves (trillion cu. m.) 1.13
Natural gas exports (billion cu. m.) 57.263
Natural gas consumption (billion cu. m.) 43.626
Marketed production of natural gas (billion cu. m.) 78.2


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