The Dutch Startup Environment

New startups are crucial for modern economies, especially for countries with an open economy like the Netherlands. It is therefore remarkable that the Dutch startup environment was lagging behind other tech regions in Europe. But times are changing, the Netherlands are catching up with its counterparts and the future looks bright.

“The Netherlands offers a number of clear advantages … including a high level of education and in-depth technical knowledge, linguistic aptitude and the multinational trade spirit of the Dutch.” — Ulrika Carlsson, Director of Finance, CISCO

One of the main Dutch newspapers, de Volkskrant, stated that the investments in Dutch startups have increased enormously [article in dutch]. Although there are some critical notes about this story, it is a bit disputable to mark Adyen and Takeaway as startups, the overall picture is quite promising. Experts claim that the ‘ecosystem’ of the Dutch startup industry is improving and that more money is available for startups. According to U.S.News the Netherlands is now at the forefront of digital startups in Europe. An open business culture, a fast-track immigration process for highly skilled immigrants and the fact that 90 percent of all Dutch people speak English contribute to this Dutch success. Investment companies such as American Cotton Wood Technology Fund already established its headquarters in the Netherlands

However, there are still some improvement points for the Netherlands. Starting a new company is an exceptionally complex and time-consuming process. Moreover, hiring and firing personnel is fairly expensive. Despite some stimulation programs that the Dutch government has launched in the last years, it would be vital to lift some of the restrictions in order to stay at the forefront.

But if we look at the big picture, there is no need to be pessimistic. The Dutch startup industry is thriving and the future looks bright. But we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. More cooperation among startups and lifting some restrictions for new companies could make the future so bright, that we should start wearing shades.

Originally published at on February 16, 2015 by Steef Redeker

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