Finance and Fintech in the Netherlands

As banking shifts faster than ever from brick-and-mortar buildings to online and even AI and blockchain, Dutch finance is leading the way, bringing traditional financial services into the future while fostering new ideas that are changing the way the world sees money.

Europe’s fastest-growing hub for finance innovation

The Netherlands is already showing the fintech revolution following Dutch homegrown successes from Mollie to Adyen. The Netherlands has a high adoption rate for tech innovation, making it an ideal location for innovation labs and research centers to test new concepts and generate fresh thinking to propel the financial sector forward. Labs in established banks like ING and ABN Amro are taking their time-tested institutions into the future and embracing digitalization.

Continuous innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) is supporting fully automated financial business processes. Moreover, the Netherlands boasts excellent connectivity and digital infrastructure with unmatched speed, capacity and availability. At the same time, the Netherlands houses multiple research institutions making breakthroughs in new technologies that are fueling fintech.  Amsterdam Science Park focuses on blockchain and AI research while Delft University of Technology excels in machine learning. And as quantum computing takes off in the Netherlands, there are seemingly no limits to how far and wide Dutch financial innovation can go.

A hotspot for finance and fintech in Europe

Ranked the 3rd best European city for startups and 5th for scale-ups, Amsterdam is just the tip of the iceberg. The Netherlands as a whole ranks 2nd as biggest fintech nation of the EU and ranks 3rd in VC funding in Europe. With fintech and financial services providers finding a stable base to serve European markets in Amsterdam post-Brexit, the Dutch capital is quickly becoming a prominent financial hub connecting all of Europe.

The proof, however, is in the finance and fintech companies affirming to open operations in the Netherlands. Foreign fintech companies like Azimo, Lemonade, Plaid, and Inshur – the insurance offer adopted by Uber – are just a few examples to add to a growing list of fintech companies setting up in the Netherlands. An educated multilingual talent pool, powerful infrastructure and a tight network of entrepreneurs and business leaders provides the fertile ground needed to succeed.

The Netherlands is not without global financial companies either. ABN Amro Bank, ING, Rabobank, Aegon, Nationale Nederlanden, Robeco, PGGM, EquensWorldline and accountancy firm KPMG are just a few that have established headquarters in the Netherlands. Other global banks and insurance companies such as BNP Paribas, MUFJ, ICBC, Bloomberg , Norinchukin and Allianz have sizable operations in the Netherlands.

To support these companies, the Netherlands offers a world-class financial infrastructure and an open and transparent regulatory system. Regulators like the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) and the Dutch Authority for Financial Markets (AFM) are thorough and their licenses are not only accepted throughout the European Union, but, they are also regarded by the finance industry in all of Europe as a hallmark of quality and credibility.

A dynamic and diverse finance ecosystem

With historically strong financial services – and as the birthplace of the stock market – diversity keeps the Netherlands’ fintech sector thriving. Amsterdam is one of the most globally diversified financial centers in Europe. Also, the women’s share of employment in financial services is over 39%, placing the country in the top-12 of the diversity index. Other hubs focusing on insurance, fintech and institutional investors are spread across the country, while trading, payments & e-commerce and security are particularly well-developed too.

The Netherlands is #1 in green finance

Moreover, Dutch financial services are not limited to traditional banking and insurance companies and values. Emerging sectors like green finance and regtech are blossoming among fintech companies in the Netherlands, providing just one more example of how the country is setting future-thinking trends that will guide the global finance world. The Netherlands is global leader in green finance, creating solutions that embrace sustainable practices and establish the Netherlands as a trendsetter in this field.

The Netherlands is a global leader in impact investing. With its long track record of leadership on financing the Sustainable Development Goals, the country has the capacity to make a significant contribution to bridging the SDG investment gap both domestically and worldwide.

Aligned with its commitment to the Paris agreement, the Netherlands is investing firmly in the impact economy. With, among others, €20 billion National Growth Fund investments allocated to future-proof innovation projects and close collaboration with public and private impact investors, the Netherlands is de-risking investments in impact innovations and strengthening its impact business community.

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