For more than a century, Illinois-based global safety science company UL, previously known as Underwriters’ Laboratories, has been making the world a safer place. With a team of nearly 11,000 employees in 40 countries worldwide, it provides safety-related certification, validation, testing, inspection, auditing, advising and training services to a wide range of clients, from manufacturers to policy makers.
In 1999, UL expanded into the Netherlands in order to better serve its growing Dutch client base. “Our clients in the Netherland are very important to us,” said Keith Williams, President & CEO of UL. “We wanted to be able to serve them more effectively.”
In establishing operations in Arnhem, UL also hoped to access the market of multinational companies in the Netherlands. “Many multinational companies set up European headquarters in the Netherlands and for good reason,” Williams said. “The language skills of nearly everyone who lives in the Netherlands are excellent—and there’s a very highly educated, high-quality workforce that brings advanced scientific and technical skills to your business.”
As for why UL decided to set up shop in Arnhem specifically, Williams believes it came down to the fact that their business simply works well in less metropolitan locations. “In places like Arnhem, you can find a strong, highly qualified workforce and the lower cost of living, while it is close to many of our customers and still only one hour away from Amsterdam.”
“From Arnhem, we can serve clients throughout Europe and, frankly, all over the world,” Williams said. It simply depends on the availability of qualified engineers required for a project. “There’s a lot more to the Netherlands than Amsterdam.”
In 2012, UL acquired Collis, a Netherlands-based provider of secure transaction technology and advisory services, expanding the company’s expertise, capabilities and global footprint. The newly acquired Leiden operations marked the third acquisition for UL’s transaction security service line, fully extending UL into the worldwide mobile payments industry.
Headquartered in Leiden, the company continues to provide electronic transaction security evaluation and consulting for the mobile, payment card, e-ticketing and ID management sectors.
While the company’s Arnhem operations will likely continue to operate at its current rate due to the stability of the product safety industry as a whole, Williams expects to see an upswing in business at the company’s Leiden operations in the coming years. “With the rapid growth of the electronic payment industry, it’s becoming more and more important to keep devices and platforms secure. We expect to see major growth in our Leiden operations.”