Agriculture, which engages only a small percentage of the workforce, is specialized, mechanized, and efficient, and yields per acre are high. The major crops are truck-farm commodities, sugar beets, potatoes, and grains. Cattle and poultry are raised and dairy farming is important; the country is known for its cheese industry. Horticultural production (especially bulbs) and fishing are also important, as is tourism.
The Netherlands is heavily industrialized. The chief industries are food processing, petroleum refining, and the manufacture of chemicals, electrical machinery, metal products, and electronics. The country's few natural resources include coal, natural gas, and petroleum. A considerable amount of the country's wealth is contributed annually by financial and transportation services. Amsterdam is one of the world's major financial centers, and Rotterdam is one of the world's busiest ports. The Netherlands has a large foreign trade. The main exports are machinery, chemicals, natural gas, processed foods, and horticultural products. Imports include machinery, transportation equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs, and clothing. The main trading partners are Germany, Belgium, France, and Great Britain.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.