"… the Benelux, an economic union with 28 million inhabitants, enjoys international prestige due to its open economy and stable industrial relations, relatively low unemployment and inflation figures, impressive trade surplusses and its logistic hub function in Europe thanks to its ideal geographical position…"

The Netherlands has a thriving and open economy, in large part due to stable international trade relations. With importants infrastructural hubs such as the port of Rotterdam (nr 1 of Europe) and Schiphol airport (nr 4 of Europe) the country re-exports 60-70% of all incoming goods to its hinterland, thereby justly described as the jumping board towards other European markets. The country´s economic, financial, logistic en technological centre is without any doubt the "Randstad". This agglomeration is responsible for approx. 50% of Dutch GDP and therewith the fourth strongest economical region of Europe.

Neighbouring Belgium was the first country of the continent to undergo the industrial revolution, and till today this results in an extensive network of ports, canals, rail track and highways that connect it with surrounding countries. Over the last decades Belgium has developed into one of the most important and modern service economies in the world. Apart from the continuous growth of international trade, the high level of Foreign Direct Investment plays a decisive role in the flourishing Belgian economy.

Sectors that offer a wide range of business opportunities in the Dutch and Belgian economies include biotechnology, ICT, environmental technologies, medical and elderly care, supplies to the building and infrastructure sector, renewable energies and the machine industry. Apart from these sectors, obvious opportunities exist for innovative products with a clear added value for the retail sector, both food and non-food products.

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