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The Netherlands is an important link in international trade and logistics. More than a quarter of all goods destined for the EU Member States – with a combined value of over 200 billion Euro – arrives on Dutch soil, which means more than 500 million consumers have to rely on the supply from our area. More containers are loaded and unloaded on the docks of Rotterdam than anywhere else in Europe, and more and more air cargo is processed on the platforms of Schiphol. The number of passengers at our airports, and therefore the amount of passenger luggage, is also increasing year by year. In 2016, the numbers rose to over 70 million.
All this requires a lot from the Customs Administration of the Netherlands. It is our task, after all, to monitor the fiscal integrity and security of the movement of goods across EU borders. At the same time, we are expected to make a contribution to the economic competitiveness of the Netherlands and the European Union. All in all, this is quite a task, because we have to do it with about 4% of the joint human capacity of all the customs authorities within the Union. We take on this challenge by approaching our tasks regarding enforcement and trade facilitation in increasingly smart ways.
Our organization has always been regarded as one of the most modern and advanced customs services in the world. Partly because of our drive for innovation, the Netherlands has been at the top of the leading international logistics indices for years. And as far as we are concerned, it will remain there. We expect a great deal from our risk-oriented approach, intensive cooperation with our public and private partners and the implementation of leading technologies in our work processes. Above all, we rely on our more than 4,500 staff members – professionals who dedicate themselves to the interests of the Netherlands and Europe every day.
Apart from know-how and high-tech tools, physical fitness and mental alertness are key to our day-to-day employee performance. That is why Dutch Customs is highly committed to sports. For example, our special investigative officers receive regular firearms and self defense training. Every year a customs delegation participates in the International Four Day Marches Nijmegen, the largest multiple day marching event in the world. And some of our colleagues compete in shooting tournaments under the auspices of the European Customs Sports Association (ECSA). It goes without saying that our sports minded staff members are looking forward to meet you on the playing fields of Rotterdam!