The Netherlands


Chemicals is one of the leading industries in the Netherlands. The business conditions are very favourable for this sector, e.g. important raw materials are available or can be easily imported, an extensive transport network provides access to the European market.

Furthermore, the Netherlands is among the leading countries in terms of chemicals research and development. The Dutch chemicals industry spends about 1.25% of its turnover on in-house research and development.

The outlook for this year remains positive, as businesses’ confidence in the industry has improved and they are expected to benefit from some rebound of demand domestically, in Europe, and overseas markets, coupled with a weaker EUR exchange rate and lower energy prices. Businesses’ margins are expected to pick up again.

Payment practice

The level of payment delays and insolvencies has been low in 2018, and this is expected to remain the case this year.

Businesses in the sector generally show average levels of indebtedness, and banks are willing to provide loans.


Competition, especially from China and the Middle East, has increased in recent years.

Heavily oil-based segments have felt a competitive disadvantage to their U.S. competitors, who benefit from lower production costs due to cheaper shale gas and oil. The currently low oil prices provide some relief for Dutch chemicals firms. However, if oil prices rise in the future, competitive pressure from the Middle East, China and the U.S. will grow further.

While domestic demand remains robust, economic slowdowns in France and Germany (which together account for more than 30% of all Dutch exports) and global trade uncertainty are weighing on exports.

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Third-party collections

Should your debtors fail to meet their payment obligations, Atradius Collections can help by initiating a professional collection process. We focus on the relationships between you and your debtors at all times.

Our team of collection specialists carry out the collection process in-house, contacting debtors both verbally and in writing whilst adhering to applicable laws.

When there is a case of dispute, we would call on our experienced team of Dutch legal collectors, who each has a master’s degree in law, to provide assistance. They mainly take a consultative role but may take over the case if the dispute is related to legal aspects.

In the event that mediation by legal collectors might not lead to an agreement and legal proceedings are indicated, the file will always be dealt with by our Dutch legal team.

Legal collections

If third-party collections do not yield results, we would consider taking legal action after consulting with you. All rules concerning commercial private law are codified in the Dutch Civil Code (‘Burgerlijk Wetboek’), whereas rules concerning procedures, courts, competencies and the likes are dealt with in the Civil Process Code (‘Wetboek van Burgerlijke Rechtsvordering’).

Entering into legal proceedings is possible without a prior formal warning to the debtor. However, all courts demand evidence that there have been pre-court efforts to try to get payments and/or to come to an amicable settlement. During these pre-court efforts, an announcement to start legal proceedings is common and should be done.

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