Colombia and the Netherlands have a strong relationship that results in strong mutual cooperation, supporting each other to grow. Significant levels of goods are currently flowing from Colombia to the Netherlands. The Dutch territory is actually ranked in the top five of export countries for Colombia.

Until recently, in the eyes of the average Dutch, Colombia was a dangerous holiday destination. Thanks to Colombia’s proactive desire to change that reputation, perspectives on the country are changing. This will not only encourage tourism but also create new business opportunities.

The Netherlands observes a promising Colombian economic outlook thanks to outstanding macroeconomic numbers. These thriving features will certainly go along with enormous potential. In 2016, Dutch investors called Colombia a priority country that is ready to receive new investments.

Import and export environment

Holiday destination.

New incentives implemented by government institutions make Colombia a safer holiday destination.

The Netherlands belongs to the top five export destinations for Colombian exports. More specifically, main exports from Colombia to the Netherlands are:

  • Coal (56%)
  • Oil (12%)
  • Palm Oil (8%).

Colombia also ships agricultural products like coffee, bananas, and flowers, though, quantities are not comparable to the vast amounts mentioned above.

So why is The Netherlands is such an important country to Colombian exporters? The Netherlands has a favorable strategic location that provides the main gateway to the rest of Europe. Hence, almost all European exports and imports flow through the main port of Rotterdam. In 2017, the sum of total Colombian exports to The Netherlands was US$ 1.86 billion, which resulted in a 4.8% share of total national exports. 

Regarding Dutch exports, Colombia has high demand for chemicals, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products. This total flow of Dutch exports totaled US$ 360 million in 2017. For this reason, The Netherlands belongs to the top 10 European countries with regard to Colombian total imports. 

Colombia’s evolving tourism reputation

Colombia’s image as a dangerous location for holidaying is changing. The Colombian tourism sector has experienced enormous growth over the last 10 years, caused by multiple factors.

The main reason is that government incentives included new safety measures that facilitate safe travel destinations in more popular area. Struggles with violence and political instability were significantly reduced when the government reached the peace deal with the FARC, and placed focus on diminishing illegal narcotic businesses. 

Colombia has an ideal geographical location with stunning Pacific and Caribbean coastlines. This is not the only driver behind tourism. Its rainforests, Andes mountains, and rivers support a growing adventure tourism industry.

Dutch media adapted its perspective of Colombia after 2016. After an announcement on a popular Dutch show Wie is de Mol? that Colombia would be the next destination for the show, the local NOS News station promoted Colombia as a tourist hotspot among Dutch tourists. This increasing exposure creates new business opportunities for airline companies, travel agencies, and Dutch business in Colombia.

Opportunities for Colombia and the Netherlands

Knowledge from The Netherlands.

Colombia opens the doors for Dutch companies that are willing to share new technologies and knowledge.

Colombia and The Netherlands already signed a number of agreements that improved their bilateral connection and removed import and export tariffs. For instance, they work alongside each other in water projects thanks to the Colombian Dutch Water Partnership. A number of opportunities exist for the Dutch water sector for cooperation with Colombia on integrated water management (coastal and river), flood risk management, port development, river transport, water and climate services, and water and agriculture. 

Where tourism increases in volume in Colombia, concentrated business is expected to follow. Not only tourists, airline companies and travel agencies are involved, also other kinds of business are seeking business opportunities. For instance, ING (the largest Dutch bank) recently opened an office in Bogota, Colombia.

Colombia’s continuous drive to improve

In The Netherlands, the ´Creative Industries´ sector ranks in world’s top 10 for trade, jobs and, brands and is one of the fastest growing in the country. Since 2016, the Dutch Top Sector has indicated Colombia as one of its priority expansion countries. Likewise, the Dutch Embassy in Colombia focuses on sustainable urban development. Duch Embassy efforts focus on sustainable mobility, improve waste management, IT, clean energy, water management, architecture, design, and music. 

This new mission of strengthening ties saw the Netherlands recognized as a guest country of honor at the international book fair of Bogota (FILBO). Since then, there has been an increasing interest from Dutch companies, especially in areas such as architecture, design, and cycling.

How can Biz Latin Hub help?

In the near future, tourism from the Netherlands to Colombia will increase exponentially, bringing sound business investment opportunities with it. As a result, various Colombian sectors such as water management, sustainable mobility, and waste management are ready to receive investments that include Dutch knowledge spillovers. 

Biz Latin Hub provides a wide range of reliable market entry and back-office services. Our leading expertise makes us the ideal local partner to support your business in Colombia. For personalized assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].

Watch our video below for a short summary on why Colombia offers prime investment potential.