Fantastic at Forty!
The NFIA Celebrates 40 Years of Foreign Investment in Holland
by Jeroen Nijland, Commissioner, Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency
The changing of the year is always a time for reflection and projection – looking back at and evaluating events of the past year and looking forward with expectation to what will play out in the year ahead.
The past year, 2017, had many noteworthy moments and events. Early spring saw our general election take place against the backdrop of a rise in populist sentiment in Europe and in North America. The elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany were particularly closely observed as the very stability of the EU seemed to hang in the balance. The Dutch voters turned out in high numbers and delivered a pro-Europe message – this resulted in a new stability and balance with a strong basis for growing and improving the economy.
In November 2017, the General Affairs Council of the European Union announced the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will relocate to Amsterdam in March 2019. The EMA relocation is a direct consequence of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. As a country with a strong Life Sciences & Health (LS&H) sector, Holland was proud to bid along with 18 other countries for the honor of hosting the EMA. Even though the decision came down to the toss of a coin, as tie-breaker between joint-finalists Milan and Amsterdam, we are very happy to be rolling out the orange carpet and welcoming the EMA to the Netherlands and look forward to an exciting and fruitful relationship.
The Netherlands is the most concentrated region in the world when it comes to creating economic and social value in Life Sciences & Health and we consider the choice of Amsterdam as a significant vote of confidence in the Netherlands as a leading force in LS&H. The Dutch government is also making a substantial investment in the EU medicines regulatory network through its allocation of €2 million to increase the capacity of the Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board (MEB). In addition to that, the Netherlands is investing €8 million in reinforcing the European network by facilitating extra training opportunities for the other national medicines authorities. The MEB will be implementing this program.
40 and Feisty!
This year, I am proud to say, is a momentous year for the NFIA as we celebrate 40 years of operations. What started with a few employees picking up business visitors at Schiphol Airport in a small DAF automobile, back in 1978, has grown to become a successful and dynamic worldwide network with 115 employees working at 27 offices in 17 countries. Throughout its 40-year history, the NFIA and its partners have assisted more than 4,000 companies from all over the world to establish their businesses successfully here in the Netherlands.
Ringing the Bell
To kick-start our 40th Anniversary, it was my honor to ring the bell at the Euronext exchange in Amsterdam – a symbolic location for us, as the results of our efforts are represented in the healthy state of the economy here. We continue to grow and develop and expand our operations in parallel with market dynamics and look forward to being able to continue to welcome organizations into our highly attractive and competitive location.
Cooperation and Collaboration
We are very proud of our role in attracting businesses and talent to the Netherlands, contributing to the economy, creating jobs, accelerating innovation and helping companies to grow and expand from their base here. Over our 40-year existence we have helped numerous major companies to locate here, including Google, Danone, TCS, Huawei Technologies and Kikkoman. Many companies locate their R&D facilities here, benefitting from advanced clusters, world-class institutions and free and fluid knowledge-exchange – as is so typical of the Dutch way of working – cooperation and collaboration being the name of the game.
Onwards and Upwards
So, as the new year begins to unfold, it is with a sense of accomplishment and a certain degree of excitement that we continue to build upon our successful track-record. We can look back at the good work we have done over the past 40 years, at the companies and people whom we have welcomed and supported. And with the confidence of our government and the support of our networks we will continue to provide the best service we can and continue to help ensure that the Netherlands is the No.1 business destination in Europe for many years to come!