The Dutch dairy industry is a leading economic sector

"The Dutch dairy industry is a leading economic sector, one that is investing heavily in sustainability, quality and innovation. Our people capture not only the hearts of women in our own country, but also markets and people across the world," says Tjeerd de Groot, director of the Dutch Dairy Association (NZO), with a nod to the popular TV series Farmer Seeks Wife. "The images of farmers, busy every day with their cows, are a business card for the dairy sector. We are proud of this, but we have more to offer than the romantic farmer's life." Today, the NZO releases its report The Engine of the Economy on the economic importance of the dairy sector.


  • 1.6 million cows
  • 18,000 dairy farms
  • 12.7 billion kilos of milk per year
  • 23 companies and their 52 factories process dairy into products and ingredients
  • 55% of all milk is processed into cheese
  • The production value of the dairy industry grew from 4.9 billion (2005) to 7 billion euros (2014)
  • The production value of dairy farms grew from 3.5 billion (2005) to 5 billion euros (2014)
  • 44,700 fulltime jobs
  • 1 billion in investments (2013-2015) in new production facilities
  • Annual dairy export grew from 3.8 billion (2005) to 7 billion euros (2014), with an average growth of 7% per year
  • 8% of the Dutch trade surplus (export value minus import)
  • 16.1% of all Dutch export to Asia, with an annual growth of 7.8%
  • Second largest in revenue per capita within the EU (after Ireland)
  • Fifth largest in milk production within the EU (after Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Poland)