What Global Companies Are Saying About the Netherlands
Some of the biggest names in business decided to invest in the Netherlands
While the Netherlands may be a small country, some of the biggest names in business decided to invest in the Netherlands and establish their European operations here. In industries ranging from fashion to high tech, growing global companies have found the Netherlands to be the perfect location. In fact, you can see for yourself what executives from top companies like Google, Tommy Hilfiger, Mars and more have to say about going Dutch:
As one of the most recognizable brand names in the world, Google is synonymous with ground-breaking innovation and a commitment to the future. So when the company announced its plans to build a $773 million data center in Groningen in 2014, it was an ideal match. Capitalizing on the Netherlands’ expertise in wind energy and high tech data center infrastructure, the company was able to power its data center with 100% renewable wind energy from its first day of operation. Jim Miller, Vice President of World Wide Operations at Google, praised the Netherlands’ overall business climate in an exclusive interview:
“The talented workforce, favorable economics and favorable business climate, all of those have come to play in the evolution of the Netherlands as a key provider of advanced information technology and data center facilities,” said Miller. “I would strongly encourage other high tech companies to look at the Netherlands as a foundation of their European operations.”
Tommy Hilfiger decided to expand to Amsterdam at a formative time for the brand. After a boom of success in the ’90s, the company was looking for a new perspective. By moving its headquarters to Amsterdam, a hub for fashion and creative industries, the company was able to grow its business and drive international sales.
“Even in my wildest dreams, bringing Tommy Hilfiger’s headquarters [to Amsterdam] didn’t lead to a firm with a turnover of €5 billion,” said Fred Gehring, Chief Executive Officer of Tommy Hilfiger Group BV.
Tommy Hilfiger now has ten offices, warehouses and stores in Amsterdam with more than one thousand employees, half of which are expats. According to Gehring, Amsterdam’s exceptional quality of life is to thank for the company’s multilingual and multicultural workforce.
“Everybody speaks English here, and you can cycle to work,” he said. “Expats feel at home here almost instantly.”
As a leading provider of technology for global trade, Flexport focuses on bringing logistics into the digital age. When the San Francisco-based company decided to expand internationally to support a growing customer base, the Netherlands’ prowess in both logistics and tech made the country a strategic fit.
“Holland is a logistics nation,” said Ryan Peterson, CEO of Flexport in an exclusive interview. “It was very clear that Amsterdam was the place for us.”
Flexport’s Chief Operating Officer, Sanne Manders, also cited the Netherlands’ logistics strength and its business-friendly climate as main reasons for Flexport’s expansion.
“The Dutch government has been extremely helpful in getting us set up,” said Manders. “They cut away a lot of red tape and made it very easy for us to transfer our foreign employees to the Netherlands. Both the NFIA and StartupDelta have been very proactive in paving the way for us to do business here.”
Mars has had operations in the Netherlands for more than 50 years. It all began in 1963, when the company wanted to establish a factory that could increase its European customer base.
“In Brabant there was space, there was the labor potential that Mars was looking for and the infrastructure was excellent,” said Mars Nederland’s General Manager Jack Tabbers. “The conditions for business development in Veghel were fantastic and they still are.”
Through the years, Mars has relied on Holland’s ports at Rotterdam and Antwerp, central location and proximity to international airports to distribute its candy bars. Today, Mars’ factory in Veghel is the biggest chocolate factory in the world, due in no small part to its innovative staff. And with the Netherlands’ expertise in renewable energy, the Brabant factory also leads the way in sustainability. In 2015, the company announced it would invest more than $100 million to expand the Veghel factory, with the goal of being one of the Mars network’s most energy efficient factories by 2025.
DoubleDutch, the creator of a mobile conference application, opened its European headquarters in Amsterdam in 2014. Based on the company’s name, the decision to set up an office in Amsterdam may seem like serendipity – but in reality, it was anything but. DoubleDutch was very precise in its hunt for a country with a central location and access to a highly-skilled, English-speaking workforce.
In a video interview with NFIA, DoubleDutch CEO Lawrence Coburn said, “We were looking for friendly policies and laws around foreign investment.” The company found that the Netherlands was the winner across all categories. “All paths seemed to lead to the Netherlands,” Coburn said.
“We initially saw our office in Amsterdam as just a sales and support office, but now we’re finding that there’s actually very strong technical talent in the Netherlands,” said Coburn. DoubleDutch’s sales office has now evolved to include a team of engineers.
“That’s something that we didn’t expect to do,” he said, “and there’s been a lot of value for us to have engineers working around the world.”
Coravin is a revolutionary system that lets wine lovers pour wine from a bottle without ever pulling the cork, keeping the wine fresh and able to age naturally. After experiencing rapid growth, the company decided to go global in 2014 and focus on the European market. According to Coravin’s VP, IT and Controller Calli Prendergast, the Netherlands was an easy choice for its European headquarters.
“Everybody speaks at least three to four languages,” she said. “That was huge for us. We knew we could find a deep talent pool to service our customers across Europe.”
Due to the Netherlands’ central European location and logistics network, Coravin is able to distribute directly to European customers, wine shops and restaurants. To help Coravin capitalize on our country’s stellar workforce and logistics network, the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency offered Coravin’s executives a helping hand to establish its Amsterdam office.
“Not all countries make it this easy to set up a business,” said Prendergast. “We found everything so easily in Amsterdam. It was a natural progression.”
Read why other global companies chose the Netherlands by checking out the Success Stories page on our website. Want to see how the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency could help your business grow in Europe? Click here to learn more about our organization’s services and resources.