Trading with the Netherlands as an SME

Everything you need to know to start trading with the Netherlands.

The Netherlands has a dynamic economy and is an important doorway to European trade. With many cultural parallels with the UK, it represents a key testing ground for new products. Trade with the Netherlands made up 7% of all UK exports in 2018.  

Entry point to Europe

Due to its geographical position, the Netherlands is a nexus for the goods that flow through into mainland Europe. The World Economic Forum also recently ranked the country’s transport infrastructure as world-leading.

Market receptivity

Dutch consumers often follow trends set by the English-speaking world, making the Netherlands a receptive market for innovative products and services. English is also widely spoken.

Expanding economy

With the 12th largest per capita GDP in the world and the fifth largest European economy, opportunities for trading with the Netherlands are on the rise.

With its position in mainland Europe, the Netherlands also has one of the world’s most open economies. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, GDP growth was 1.8%.

‍Exporting to the Netherlands


In the Netherlands, VAT is called BTW and charged at 21%. However, a lower rate of 9% applies to some products such as food, medicine and certain construction materials.

‍Payment terms

Dutch law states that invoices must be paid within 30 days, unless there is a prior agreement by both buyer and supplier on alternative payment terms.

Payment terms of 60 days are only permitted if both parties can demonstrate that this would not be detrimental to them.

‍Routes to market

The Netherlands is a relatively small and well established market, so local representation can be beneficial.

The Dutch Government offers guidance on how to start trading in the Netherlands, including trading models and legal considerations.

‍Ease of doing business

42nd / 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Fast Facts



Business language

Dutch, English

Economic growth

1.8% (2019, IMF)

GDP per capita

£38,368 (IMF, 2018)

Time zone

GMT +1

Thinking of exporting to the EU? Click here to check the risk on invoices to overseas buyers, obligation free!


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