Netherlands: Successful global player


Thanks to foreign demand for production equipment for the semiconductor and flat-panel display production equipment , the tenth largest mechanical engineering production centre in the world is expected to achieve sales growth in 2020 as well. However, most of the other machine groups are facing declining demand.

Mechanical engineering is one of the most dynamic industrial sectors in the Netherlands. In 2017 and 2018, it was able to increase its turnover in the double-digit range and is likely to remain on the growth path in 2020, probably even in the mid-single-digit range, as well-known companies such as ASML benefit from the flourishing demand for machines for the semiconductor industry. This means that the country is clearly setting itself apart from the development in the other EU member states.



In 2019, machines and equipment worth almost 36 billion euros were manufactured in the Netherlands. Machinery and equipment for around 19 billion remained in the country itself. Thanks to the port infrastructure in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, the Netherlands is of great importance for international goods traffic. This becomes very clear as the country imports more than it sells on the domestic market and exports more than it produces. Beyond this hub function, Dutch mechanical engineering itself is heavily dependent on exports. The collapse in demand at home and the recession of its most important trading partners, above all Germany, are weighing on it. Only in a few sectors were exports in the first half of 2020 up on the previous year's volume. Of the TOP 10 sectors, this is true of only two: production equipment for the semiconductor and flat panel display manufacturing industries and air handling technology. All other branches are facing minus rates in export business. The bilateral trade business with Germany is developing differently as well.



Fifth most important trading partner in machinery for Germany

Germany is traditionally the most important foreign machinery supplier in the Netherlands. In 2019, German companies delivered mechanical engineering products worth 7.5 billion euros to the neighboring country. Although deliveries in the first seven months of the current year were almost 15 percent lower than in the same period last year, the Netherlands is now the fifth most important foreign export market for Germans, as the decline in deliveries to Italy was even greater at 22 percent. Both on the export and import side, the specialist branches of materials handling technology, general ventilation technology, construction machinery and building material plants as well as agricultural technology are currently in the respective TOP 5 list.



VDMA member companies can find the monthly foreign trade data of all EU countries in the VDMA statistics database and can search there on product group level. The database with annual values contains the foreign trade data of the 52 most important mechanical engineering countries. This database section can be used to analyze the international competitive position at product level. Please contact us if you need an introduction to work with the database!


Each month, we provide a brief and comprehensive outline of the economic situation in the global mechanical engineering sector in our monthly "Bulletin international".


Companies from the BeNeLux countries, which are interested in the services and products of the VDMA, please contact

Mr Arjan Schmits, VDMA Business Development Manager BeNeLux.

Phone: +49 211 6877 4822



For market information please contact:

Mrs Anke Uhlig, VDMA Economics and Statistics

Phone:             +49 69 6603 1388