The Netherlands

Creative Industries The Netherlands

Global Development Netherlands at Red Yellow Blue (RYB)

Flag of the Netherlands

Government of The Netherlands

Creative industries

Dutch creative industries are among the best in the world and one of the Netherlands’ nine leading economic sectors. Through its top sectors policy, the government aims to consolidate their international market position. The creative industry includes the art and heritage sector, media and entertainment, and creative business services.

Through their international programmes the Creative Industries Fund NL and Het Nieuwe Instituut strengthen the position of the Dutch creative industries abroad. The programmes cover a range of subjects, including:

  • architecture
  • design (including fashion)
  • new media
  • gaming

More information can be found on the websites of:
> the Creative Industries Fund NL grant programme for internationalisation
> the international programme of Het Nieuwe Instituut

Creative Industries - Key Industries in the Netherlands

Key Industries in the Netherlands – Creative Industries

The Dutch creative industry ranks among the world’s top international players for jobs, brands, patents and is the market leader in the export of creative services. Currently, the creative industry in the Netherlands is growing faster than the Dutch economy overall and that is a good indicator of the high level of innovation and new ideas being generated here. In order to sustain this level of impact, the Creative Industry has broadened the knowledge base of the creative professional and has expanded where that knowledge can be applied.
> Creative Industries

International cultural policy 2021-2024

Culture and the arts enrich individuals and bind society together. Culture shows who we are, where we come from and what we stand for. Cultural partnerships and exchanges with foreign countries provide inspiration, increase our store of knowledge and give access to high-quality culture and arts.
Internationalisation can also promote the development of talent, and exhibitions, performances and translations can help Dutch artists and art institutions reach a wider audience.

Culture is ‘soft power’. Through culture, a country strengthens its ability to make friends and wield influence. In a world of increasing international contacts and conflicts, culture can contribute to positive images of the Netherlands and foster debate.

Economically speaking, too, culture is significant. In the Netherlands, the cultural and creative sectors do much to boost employment. Culture is a major element of state visits and trade missions. By crossing borders, artists and art institutions are able to reach new and different audiences, as well as new markets. Making their mark abroad for the first time often helps artists’ careers take off.

In addition, international cultural policy is beneficial for the Netherlands’ image abroad. We seek to present ourselves as an open and creative country, a country that is appealing as a partner. This image is also important for other sectors – like tourism – and strengthens our international relations.

In short, government involvement in international cultural policy is necessary: not just because of the intrinsic value of culture, but also because of its international character, its role in the development of talent and its importance for the Netherlands’ image as a creative, open country.
> Download “International cultural policy 2021-2024”
> Priorities of the Netherlands’ international cultural policy

Amsterdam | Map | Cultural gems

What is culture in your city?
Culture in a city is not only represented by museums, cinemas, theatres, art galleries, and other institutional places. Culture is heritage, with memorials, historic and religious sites, but it is also very much alive, with informal cultural spaces, meeting places where artistic creation happens, and places where music is played.

Cultural gems is a free open source web app, conceived by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, to map cultural and creative places in European cities. The main purpose is to capture diversity in culture and creativity among European cities. Cultural gems includes data on selected cultural venues from OpenStreetMap, and information provided by European cities, universities, and other public and private organisations. Citizens are encouraged to add more.


high-income European economy; core EU member; chemical, oil, and machinery exporter; some age-based income inequality; substantial amount of independent contractor employees; manageable public debt; key international aid funder.

The Netherlands, the sixth-largest economy in the European Union, plays an important role as a European transportation hub, with a consistently high trade surplus, stable industrial relations, and low unemployment. Industry focuses on food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 2% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for food-processing and underpins the country’s status as the world’s second largest agricultural exporter.

The Netherlands is part of the euro zone, and as such, its monetary policy is controlled by the European Central Bank. The Dutch financial sector is highly concentrated, with four commercial banks possessing over 80% of banking assets, and is four times the size of Dutch GDP.

In 2008, during the financial crisis, the government budget deficit hit 5.3% of GDP. Following a protracted recession from 2009 to 2013, during which unemployment doubled to 7.4% and household consumption contracted for four consecutive years, economic growth began inching forward in 2014. Since 2010, Prime Minister Mark RUTTE’s government has implemented significant austerity measures to improve public finances and has instituted broad structural reforms in key policy areas, including the labor market, the housing sector, the energy market, and the pension system. In 2017, the government budget returned to a surplus of 0.7% of GDP, with economic growth of 3.2%, and GDP per capita finally surpassed pre-crisis levels. The fiscal policy announced by the new government in the 2018-2021 coalition plans for increases in government consumption and public investment, fueling domestic demand and household consumption and investment. The new government’s policy also plans to increase demand for workers in the public and private sector, forecasting a further decline in the unemployment rate, which hit 4.8% in 2017.
Source: World Factbook

The Netherlands promotes trade for sustainable development

Trade is an engine for economic growth, jobs and innovative entrepreneurship. Though a small country, the Netherlands is a major global trade partner. We aim for trade working for sustainable development, for the beneft of women and men alike, while being respectful to nature and the environment.
> Brochure: ‘The Netherlands promotes trade for sustainable development’