Importing from The Netherlands to the UK: A Guide for Businesses

The Netherlands has the 17th largest economy in the world. It has the largest port in Europe in Rotterdam and it has historically been an important part of international trade in Europe, and continues to be one of the world’s top 10 leading exporting countries. Being one of the founding members of the euro, and having banking and transport an important part of the economy, The Netherlands’ main exports are oil, machines and electronic equipment. Key trading partners include Germany, Belgium, UK, US and France.


At TNT, we know that importing for your business can be a daunting experience, especially if it’s from a country or a business that you’ve never done it with before. We’ve created a guide to make importing from The Netherlands simple and easy.


The Netherlands Fact File

Official Language: Dutch

Currency: Euro (EUR), US Dollar in Caribbean Netherlands only

Central Bank: De Nederlandsche Bank

Calling Code: +31

Capital City: Amsterdam

Largest City: Amsterdam

Population: 16,971,452


Shipping from The Netherlands

The UK and The Netherlands share a maritime border, so it may not seem that far away. However, it’s important to know how your goods are going to get from A to B. That way you can make an informed decision on how or where you want to save money.


For instance, air freight might be the most expensive way to transport goods, but it is the quickest. Similarly, sea freight is one of the slowest, but it is cheaper.


If your order is large, or consists of large items, then sea freight may be the better option, however, there are the additional costs of docking and unloading to consider.

Tax, Duty and Customs

Because The Netherlands are part of the EU, you don’t have to pay import duty. You will need to pay VAT, and depending on the goods, you may need an import licence.


Imports within the EU are referred to as “acquisitions”.


First, you’ll need to figure out the right commodity code. Head to the online Trade Tariff to find the right one for your goods. The commodity code will tell you what rules, regulations or tax applies to the items that you’re importing.


It is important to follow these regulations, because otherwise your goods may be seized, and you may be fined or even prosecuted.


If you move goods from one EU country to another, you must add these acquisitions and any tax due to your VAT Return. You can reclaim the tax paid if the items are for you to make taxable supplies or to use in your business.


You don’t have to pay any duty on goods that have been produced in the EU, or are already in the EU when you import them to the UK and have had the duty paid on them. These goods are said to be “in free circulation”.

Restricted Items

As with any EU member state, there are a number of restricted items you aren’t allowed to import at all. Goods such as illegal drugs, weapons and obscene materials make up the full list, which you can find here on


Alternative Options

To make sure that the whole process is easy and efficient, you may want to consider using TNT to manage your imports for you. Our Express Import services work with over 175 different countries and will collect and transport your goods to your business premises. We have a number of different air, sea and road freight options across our extensive delivery network. We can help you with all the important paperwork and processes involved, ensuring your imports from The Netherlands are on time and under budget.