Water Transport/ Water and trade

The Netherlands holds a long legacy as a trading and seafaring nation. Its geographical location as a trading nation is ideal. It connects a few major European rivers with the deeper waters of the most heavily navigated sea in the world, the North Sea. It is located in the heart of Europe and gives easy access to the major industrial ports of Germany, Belgium, France and Eastern Europe, as well as to more than 500 million European consumers.

Already in the 16th to 18th century, the golden age of Holland, the Dutch had a leading position in European and international trade. At that time the capital Amsterdam was Europe’s richest city and dominant trading power. The Dutch empire at one point included Indonesia, Ceylon, South Africa, Surinam, portions of the West Indies and New Amsterdam (the precursor of New York.) They also held a monopoly on trade to Japan and were the first Europeans to explore Australia and Korea.

International trade is still the primary axis of the Dutch economy. Its major port, the port of Rotterdam, is now the largest in Europe and the third largest in the world after Shanghai and Singapore. The revenues of the port of Rotterdam alone account for about 10% of the Dutch Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Other notable ports are the port of Amsterdam, the Zeeland Seaports, and the Groningen Seaports.

The Netherlands is also one of the world’s key players in maritime industry. They are active in every area of shipbuilding and are uniquely specialized in dredging, offshore, navy, and inland shipping, and yacht building. The Dutch are leading operators of workboats for coastal and inland waters all over the globe. They are known for land reclamation projects, for instance in Dubai, and provide advanced navigational communication electronics/services.