Germany and the Netherlands enjoy wide-ranging, close and friendly bilateral relations at the level of both government and civil society. There are intensive contacts between their members of government and parliament at national and Land level. The Dutch royal couple, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima, visited Bremen on 6 March 2019 and Land Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Land Brandenburg from 20 to 22 May 2019. On 16 May 2019, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks in Berlin with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Intergovernmental consultations took place in Berlin for the third time on 2 October 2019. The Netherlands is one of Germany’s closest bilateral, EU and multilateral partners.
Exports and innovations play a very important role in the Netherlands’ economy. Strong sectors include services, particularly in the financial sector, as well as trade, agriculture and industry. The manufacturing sector is often highly specialised. The Netherlands is the fifth-largest exporter in the world, with 70 percent of its exports going to the EU and 23 percent to Germany. The country is the second-largest exporter of agricultural produce in the world after the United States (90.3 billion euros in 2018). In 2018, the Netherlands was Germany’s most important trading partner in the EU for the second time in a row and its second-largest partner worldwide, with an increase of seven percent compared with 2017.
Bilateral cultural relations between Germany and the Netherlands are very intensive. There is close cooperation and exchange between organisations and people involved in vocational training, education, research and culture. Around 22,200 Germans study in the Netherlands. They account for 25 percent of all international students and are the largest group of students from abroad, ahead of Italy and China.