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Taking a Bite Out of Holland’s Agri/Food Sector

The Dutch Build on World-Class Agri/Food Industry

As pioneers in the agri/food industry, the Dutch are constantly innovating new ways to optimize the sector and are attracting global food companies along the way. Let’s dig in to see how Holland has earned its renowned status in the agri/food industry.

Attracting Global Food Companies

Source: Invest in Holland

The agri/food industry is a strong driver of the Dutch economy with over 5,300 companies and one out of every six employees working in the food industry. Holland has several features that attract global food companies such as Coca-Cola, Cargill and Nutricia Research, to establish operations here. One of the most notable features is Holland’s young, motivated, skilled, and multilingual workforce.

Kraft Heinz opened its new global hub in the Netherlands in May 2018, marking the firm’s largest office in the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. In addition, Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant, established its global headquarters in Rotterdam and a new Global Foods Innovation Center at the campus of Wageningen University and Research Center (WUR).

Promoting Sustainable Agriculture

Source: National Geographic 

National Geographic dubbed the Netherlands an “agricultural powerhouse” because the Dutch have continued to set the example for sustainable farming across the globe. The Dutch utilize advanced strategies to produce food, such as climate-controlled farms and sustainable greenhouses. Due to their advanced technologies, the Netherlands holds the top spot as the world’s No. 1 exporter in potatoes, onions, and fresh vegetables. The Dutch are the world’s No. 2 largest exporter of agri/food overall. Beyond its agricultural expertise, the Netherlands could not have achieved its prominence in the agri/food industry without the extensive research and knowledge cultivated in its R&D hubs.

Holland’s Hunger for Innovation

Source: Wageningen University and Research Centre

In addition to being world leaders in agri/food exports, the Dutch are known as innovators and thought-leaders within the industry. The Netherlands is home to Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), currently ranked the No. 1 university in the agri/food domain, where groundbreaking food innovation work is being done. As a result, instructors and students there have said that “knowledge is the Netherlands’ most valuable export.”

In addition to WUR, there are many other universities and research institutes that together provide excellent know-how and an innovation ecosystem. These players are active in not only agri/food but often also in high-tech, ICT, and life sciences and health, allowing for exciting opportunities to meet the challenges the world is facing. In addition to investments by major companies in Holland,  startups are also flourishing in several clusters throughout the country. Holland’s acclaimed R&D ecosystem, paired with its innovative startup culture, is destined to bring a bright future for agriculture and sustainable farming across the globe.

Want to learn more about the Dutch agri/food industry? The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) will attend IFT18 – an annual international conference that brings together the most respected food professionals from around the world – on July 15-18 in Chicago, IL. For more information on connecting with NFIA at Booth S1619 at IFT18, visit

11 July 2018

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