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Beyond the Startup: Why the Netherlands is a World-Class Digital Hub

Posted by: Charis Fisher 21 Feb 17  | Digital |  Netherlands |  Technology

For years, the Netherlands, and in particular Amsterdam, has been known as a top destination for tech start-ups. Its culture of innovation and its many start-up accelerators, including Rockstart and Startupbootcamp, make it the perfect environment for talented entrepreneurs establishing their own business.

What we’re now seeing from Dutch disruptors is a maturing of the market beyond the initial buzz. The Netherlands is beginning to outperform long-established tech hubs like Berlin and Hong Kong, recently placing fifth in Savills World Research’s Tech Cities 2017 ranking.

Big names in the global IT market are now looking to Amsterdam when pursuing expansion and investing in innovation. In January, Cisco launched its Digital Acceleration Netherlands programme, which will drive the Dutch economy’s digital transformation through offering investment, training and support in local high-tech initiatives. In 2016 alone, 1.74 billion euros were invested in the Dutch economy from industry giants such as Oracle and Danone.

So what is it about the Netherlands that makes it such a strong contender internationally for digital innovation?


The Netherlands has a rich history of technological innovation that stretches back to as far as the 1540s during the Dutch Golden Age. In terms of modern-day IT, Dutch innovators have continued to disrupt the global market with ground-breaking inventions like the CD (1979), Wi-Fi (1991) and Bluetooth (1994). 


Home to over 2700 multinational companies, large organisations often choose to establish their regional headquarters in the Netherlands, including Fujitsu, AkzoNobel, Unilever and Heineken. Of all the 40+ countries in Europe, top executives are increasingly selecting the Netherlands for its sustainable growth, its favourable taxation policies and its accessibility within the continent. The Dutch nation has even been ranked recently as the second most economically stable country in the world, according to a KPMG report.


Amsterdam is globally renowned as a leading expat destination ranking 11th place worldwide on international consulting firm Mercer’s Quality of Life 2016 ranking. More than 50,000 expats have made the city their home, imbuing the capital with a multicultural vibe that creates an ideal breeding ground for creativity. The Dutch capital is also a prolific host of tech events and meetups that promote a vibrant atmosphere for innovation.


When it comes to top technology talent, the Netherlands can hold its own against the competition abroad. From Delft University of Technology to the Universiteit Utrecht, researchers in the Netherlands are globally renowned specialists in technological innovation, business and sustainability.

The quality of Dutch-grown talent was particularly evident at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show conference in the USA, where the many Dutch inventions on display varied from self-driving cars to autonomous drones.

Clearly a competent “next-stage” destination for former startups, it will be exciting to see how the Dutch tech industry will develop over the next few years.

If you’re keen to become part of Holland’s digital innovation movement, why not see how your skills match up to the local job market?

Your next IT role could take you to Amsterdam or Utrecht


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