February 13, 2024

The importance of Dutch service activities in global value chains of manufactured goods

The importance of Dutch service activities in global value chains

Press release
The Dutch manufacturing industry is undergoing significant changes, with a growing emphasis on income derived from services. We are witnessing a gradual shift in the types of activities that contribute to the Netherlands' earnings from global production chains. Workers in the Netherlands earn from goods made both domestically and abroad, but there is an increase in earnings from services such as consultancy, alongside a decline in earnings from production activities like assembly.

From 2000 to 2018, there has been a notable transition from production-focused activities to other sectors, notably professional services like consultancy, marketing, and legal advice. Surprisingly, even within the manufacturing industry, the majority of income is now generated by service activities, accounting for approximately 66% of total income, whereas only 34% is earned from actual product manufacturing. This ratio has shifted considerably from around the turn of the century, where it stood at 56% and 44%, respectively.


Beyond the manufacturing sector, various other industries contribute significantly to the income generated in global production chains for goods, with service activities playing a crucial role here as well. The trend of 'servicification' is observable in many developed economies, but it's particularly pronounced in the Netherlands, which is highly specialised in providing professional services.

Broader perspective

This research demonstrates that Dutch industrial policy must be viewed from a broader perspective. Not only is production in the manufacturing industry important, but also the services associated with it, both within and outside the manufacturing industry. The success of industrial policy should not only be measured by how many goods we export or grow in certain sectors but also by how well the Netherlands performs in services that support production processes worldwide.