The Digital Gateway to Europe: the Netherlands is a Leader in IT & Tech
As Europe’s most wired country, the Netherlands is one the best countries for IT and tech companies. Businesses that invest in the Netherlands’ technology and IT sector can accelerate their innovation here, thanks to:
- The superb digital infrastructure, an innovative and entrepreneurial culture, R&D incentives, the Dutch government’s strong tech strategy, and the tech-savvy, multi-lingual Dutch workforce.
- World-leading innovation ecosystems in cyber security, AI and digital health.
- Strong crossovers between tech and other impact industries, such as smart farming and agtech, robotics, smart mobility, and sustainable energy and chemicals.
The Netherlands’ technological environment is anchored by a robust digital infrastructure. The Dutch rank No. 2 in the world for online connectivity, with 98% of households having broadband connection. The Netherlands is also home to the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), one of the world’s leading digital data distributors. This advanced network allows companies to stay digitally connected and reshape the future. It also powers work-from-home connections which encourages a healthy and flexible work-life balance.
IT leaders choose the Netherlands
From startups to multinationals, IT companies of all sizes tap into the Netherlands’ technological environment. Tech companies from around the world find success across different activities and locations in the Dutch IT industry. Major players like IBM, Microsoft, Google, NTT, and Oracle chose the Netherlands for their European headquarters, customer service centers, R&D facilities and more. Tech startups like New Zealands’ Imagr, and R&D-focused companies like the UAE’s WEB-N-TECH and the USA’s LabWare are just a few of the companies in the Dutch international tech ecosystem. Other IT & Tech innovators to have recently joined include 3SC and Quantiphi from India, AND Digital from the UK, South Africa’s Irdeto and Lunit AI from South Korea.
The Dutch recognize that AI, fueled by big data, is a key driver of opportunity in the 21st century. In 2019, the Dutch government launched the Strategic Action Plan for AI. The plan introduced three pillars to: capitalize on the societal and economic opportunities of AI, advance AI knowledge through R&D and human capital and safeguard the public interest by establishing ethical guidelines in AI. Additionally, the NL AI Coalition unites government, industry, knowledge institutions and civil society to accelerate AI developments in the Netherlands. Companies active in AI, such as ABB, Brain Corp and Wonderkind are putting down roots in the Netherlands’ technology-driven economy as their testing ground in this quickly growing industry.
Fulfilling its role as a global beacon of peace and justice, the Netherlands is a leading cybersecurity hub in Europe. The Dutch central information hub and center of expertise for cyber security is the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). The NCSC encourages cooperation between the government and businesses to enhance the digital resilience of the Dutch society. Attracted by this strong ecosystem and by the excellent digital infrastructure, many international security agencies like Europol and NATO established their operations here.
The Netherlands is also home to Europe’s largest security cluster, The Hague Security Delta (HSD). HSD is a national network of more than 300 public and private organizations working together to accelerate cybersecurity solutions. Drawn to this network, cybersecurity companies like FOX IT, Thales and Palo Alto invest in the Netherlands’ technological environment.
Digital health development
The Netherlands is pre-eminent globally in the field of digital healthcare. The quality of data-driven research and digital health provide excellent opportunities for foreign digital health companies. That was a key reason for the Healthcare and Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) to locate its global headquarters in the Netherlands.
The Dutch government aims to become the undisputed testing ground for digital health companies and their innovations, which is reflected in the fact that the Netherlands ranks in the top 3 of health technology implementation by healthcare professionals – around 98% of health care professionals in the Netherlands use digital health records and all hospitals have an Electronic Health Record (EHR). The country is driving health advancement by encouraging the migration of data to cloud-based systems and subscription services.
Crossovers in every sector
Collaboration is at the heart of the Netherlands. The intersections between tech and other industries are a result of this. For example, smart farming and agtech are making the Dutch agrifood sector more sustainable. On the creative side, the Dutch gaming industry leads in simulation and ‘serious’ gaming – digital games designed for acquiring specialized skills or knowledge. Medtech and eHealth have become critical subsectors of the Dutch life sciences and health industry. Technology also supports the Netherlands’ chemicals clusters and high-tech sector in their efforts to build a sustainable, circular economy.
Dutch Digitalization Strategy
The Dutch government’s ambitions for advancing IT & Tech are underscored in the Dutch Digitalization Strategy. The strategy takes a two-pronged approach of accelerating digitalization in sectors like healthcare, mobility, energy and agrifood, and strengthening the foundation of digitalization in cybersecurity, privacy, digital skills and fair competition. And equipping everyone in the Netherlands with the right digital skills is one of the key principles underlying the Dutch Digitalization Strategy. The tech-savvy Dutch are digital frontrunners who lead the way in embracing new digital applications, making the Netherlands a great test market for new concepts and products.