Indo-Dutch trade relations have a rich history, dating back to early 17th century. Representatives of the Dutch East India company have first set foot on the coromandel coast in 1605, and indulged in trading of textiles. Over the next 50 years, they traded across the Indian peninsula with outposts ranging from Surat on the west coast and upto Bengal on the east coast, and also expanded their trade to include precious stones, indigo, and silk.
For the next 200 years, they maintained extensive trade relations with significant presence on both the Coromandel and Malabar coasts. It all came to an end in 1825, when to comply with the terms of the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1824, all Dutch trading posts in India were handed over to the English. Even today, one can see remnants of the rich Dutch colonial past in cities like Cochin, Vishakapatnam and many other places across the vast coastline of India.
Signs of the righ Dutch heritage in India can be seen in Bheemli, near Vishakapatnam on the Andhra coast, which was a Dutch settlement in the 17th century. Here, you can find ruins of an old fort and The Hollanders Green Cemetery, one of the oldest Chrisitian cemeteries in India, with obelisk-shaped tombstones and Dutch inscriptions.
While the new Indian republic had some economic relations with Netherlands in the post-1947 era, the real Indo-Dutch trade has taken off again only in the 1990s, after the opening up of the Indian economy. Today, Netherlands is India’s 4th largest trading partner in the EU and one of the top five investors in India. In recent years, the value of trade between the two nations has risen to more than € 6 billion, and more than 100 Dutch companies, which include Global banks, Insurance companies, MNCs and IT firms, have substantial presence in India.
On the otherhand, with its favorable business climate and investor-friendly tax structure, Netherlands also continues to attract a large share of Indian investments. A recent study indicated that almost 30% of FDI by Indian corporates amounting to nearly $ 3 billion went to Netherlands. A sign of the increasing Indo-Dutch relations both economically and culturally, can be seen by the fact that Netherlands is also home to the largest Indian diaspora in continental Europe (after U.K.), numbering more than 200,000.
As the Dutch Ambassador in New Delhi, His Excellency Mr. Alphonsus Stoelinga, pointed out:
Our shared heritage is both a compelling and tangible reason for us to ponder on the past and on its significance for the present and the future. This can lead to mutual understanding, a reinforcement of ties and the intensification of fruitful cooperation between India and the Netherlands
The Dutch already have a footprint in Hyderabad, capital of the newly-formed Telangana state, by virtue of its software industry ties dating back to early 90s, when Baan established its IDC. Hyderabad’s natural advantages including its cosmopolitan heritage, access to a huge talent pool and excellent connectivity, makes it a natural choice for many global majors seeking to establish a footprint in India. Fact that giants such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon have recently made Hyderabad the hub of their Indian operations speaks volumes about the city and its favorable business climate.
The India – Netherlands Business Association (INBA) is formed by Indian and Dutch corporates to facilitate bi-lateral business and cultural relationships between India and the Netherlands. Since 2009, INBA Hyderabad was actively involved in assisting local business and Dutch companies with various advisory services focused towards enhancing and facilitating trade and cultural relations between the two nations.
The increasing globalization trends and the untapped and vast potential for growth in India foretells that the Indo-dutch trade is poised for a giant leap in the 21st century. INBA Hyderabad chapter will be at the forefront and endeavor to be a facilitator for the increasing trade and cultural ties between the two nations.
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