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Spatial Impact of the Netherlands

Netherlands 1. Spatial Impact:

Netherlands uses a great deal of space abroad. Some 15 million hectares of agricultural land beyond its borders are used: 5 million hectares for consumption and 10 million hectares for agricultural products. A further 6 million must be added for imports of timber.

The spatial impact of the Netherlands on agricultural land and forests in other countries is therefore five times the size of the Netherlands itself. This represents a grave threat to global biodiversity, as a a result, for example, of transformation of tropical rain forests into land for cultivation of tapioca for meat production and the use of primary forests for the production of timber and paper.

2. Food Balance:

Vegetable products: Animal products:
production: 25.6
imports: 32.9
stock change: 0.4
exports: 19.9
feed use: 10.6
processing*: 15.2
other uses: 3.3
food use: 8.9
production: 16.6
imports: 7.9
stock change: -0.1
exports: 12.3
feed use: 3.2
processing*: -0.3
other uses: 1.4
food use: 7.8
Unit: million tons per year
* Processing is, for example, the import of oil seeds which are processed for oil, or barley for beer, which on its turn is coming back in production, export and use.

Thus The Netherlands can feed about 2.5 times their population with vegetals and twice their population with animal products of their own production today - even with this food composition, very high in animal content and very high in nutrition (per capita per day: 3242 kcal, 104 g proteins, 140 g fat). With more vegetarians, they probably can feed four times their todays population.

Source (1):
Margaretha de Boer, The Environment, Space and Living Quality. Time for Sustainability. The Hague: Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, 1995.

Source (2):
Source: Food Balance Sheets of FAO-STAT at
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