Forty and Fit for the Future
Invest in Holland network helps to create almost 10,000 new jobs in 2018
by Jeroen Nijland, Commissioner, Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency
There’s a saying that goes: ‘life begins at forty’, and, looking back now at 2018 and the 40th anniversary of the NFIA, I can only say that after recording the most successful year in our history, that perhaps we are just beginning to truly get into our stride!
Establishing a worldwide network of offices and personnel to support foreign direct investment isn’t achieved overnight. Over the past 40 years, we have gained momentum, and wisdom, and experience. People make our organization, and we have managed to attract and employ dedicated and motivated personnel of all nationalities with a heart for international business and trade, all of whom have helped to create a strong foundation on which to build.
So, it was not only here in The Hague, the center of our operations, that we celebrated our 40th anniversary, but also at our locations around the globe – from Tokyo, to New York, Singapore, Beijing and beyond. I am glad to say that we welcomed many of our clients to celebrate with us, because there’s another saying, one that we use a lot here in the Netherlands, and that is: ‘It’s not what we do for you, it’s what we do with you that counts,’ and this aspect of ‘partnership’ was what set the tone for our celebrations worldwide.
Moreover, we certainly had cause to celebrate: in 2018 the NFIA, together with our Invest in Holland network partners, managed to attract 372 foreign investment projects to the Netherlands, creating almost 10,000 new jobs and adding an impressive 2.85 billion euros to our economy. Totaled-up over the last forty years, we have succeeded in assisting 4,000 clients to orientate, decide, and set up operations here in the Netherlands and that’s great by any standard.
During these somewhat unsettled times, it is tricky to make economic predictions.
Brexit is a current example of this affecting our work. The situation in the UK continues to be a prime focus for many EU countries as the lack of clarity surrounding Brexit gives rise to all manner of speculation. From a broad economic perspective the Netherlands is still badly affected by the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU as a neighbor, large trading partner and main port to the continent. As Brexit approaches however, we also perceive increased interest in our country. This is not just from companies in the UK itself. Companies from the Americas and Asia now look differently at securing access to the European market. We are currently engaged in active discussions with a number of companies and organizations in the UK regarding potential relocation to the Netherlands as a result of Brexit.
This makes a lot of sense since we are in the heart of Europe. But in fact, our Brexit-assets aren’t any different than in our ‘regular’ work. Almost every business we are in contact with is attracted by our multi-lingual, hard-working talent pool, our political and financial stability (we are the 6th largest economy in the EU), or our innovation climate (we are ranked 2nd in the 2018 Global Innovation Index) – but apart from that, it’s also a great place to live or study (we ranked 6th in the 2017 World Happiness Index).
Future looks great
We like a challenge, and together with our global offices and our regional partners in the Invest in Holland network, and on the back of our most successful year ever, we have set ourselves some ambitious new goals for 2019. As our experience grows, together with the confidence, and the evidence that we really do have the best business location within Europe, we look forward this coming year to assisting a record number of companies to Invest in Holland, because to be honest, the future looks great!