Startups in the Netherlands

Monday 6 May 2024

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Startups in the Netherlands

Acknowledged for its inclusive culture and increasing focus on fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, the Netherlands has established itself as a vibrant centre for startup activity. According to the Global Innovation Index for 2023, which measures innovation's impact on productivity and economic advancement, the Netherlands ranks 7th, underscoring its vibrant and cooperative startup ecosystem. Additionally, its strategic location places it in close proximity to seven of the top ten countries on the Global Innovation Index.


The competitive position arises from various factors that draw entrepreneurs to establish their foothold in a nation renowned for its windmills, impressive bridges, and sizable areas situated below sea level.

Let’s have a look at a few of these factors.

Focus on tech

According to insights from the Harvard Business Review, the Netherlands has clinched an impressive third place globally for its ease of conducting digital business. One standout feature of the Dutch landscape is the proactive support provided by the government to foreign startups, offering them essential resources and guidance for setting up shop within the country.

The Dutch government has allocated a significant investment to support local AI initiatives, aiming to maintain the nation's leading position in the dynamic technological landscape. Moreover, the Netherlands boasts a commanding presence in Europe's public tech market, with four of the continent's largest tech firms based on market capitalization calling it home. With growth plans that promise around 20,000 jobs over the next decade, ASML stands out as a dominant force in the European tech sector that also generates numerous indirect opportunities for suppliers.

Ranking 1st in the EU for software developers per capita, the Netherlands also takes a leading role in software development, which further demonstrates the Netherlands’ ability to adapt to new tech and innovation. Numerous foreign fintech startups have chosen the Netherlands as their base for European expansion. Furthermore, the Netherlands’ early adoption of tech and innovation has attracted foreign startups across various other industries, such as life sciences, healthcare, and the creative industry.


Highly skilled talent pool

According to the 2023 Global Talent Competitiveness Index released by INSEAD, the Netherlands has emerged as a global leader, securing the 5th position worldwide for talent competitiveness. This achievement is largely credited to the country's prestigious university system, consistently ranked among the top three in the EU, which plays a pivotal role in nurturing and attracting talent.


Furthermore, the Netherlands takes pride in its world-leading English proficiency, a crucial asset for international startups seeking to establish themselves in the country. With an impressive level of English proficiency surpassing all other non-native English-speaking nations in 2022, the majority of Dutch citizens are proficient in English, facilitating business interactions for numerous companies operating within its borders. Additionally, the Netherlands is renowned for its comprehensive education system, producing a workforce that is not only multilingual but also highly skilled.


The Netherlands' strategic positioning at the gateway to Europe makes it an ideal launchpad into the European market. Its central coastal location, coupled with a strong financial infrastructure, has elevated it to a significant position as a key import and export hub in Europe. Situated at the heart of the continent, the Netherlands acts as a doorway to a market of 244 million consumers reachable within a 1,000-kilometer radius. Boasting outstanding transportation infrastructure, highlighted by the Port of Rotterdam and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the nation provides unmatched connectivity for international trade and logistics.


Startup visa

The Dutch government has introduced the Netherlands Startup Visa program to support non-EU/EEA citizens looking to pursue entrepreneurial ventures in the country. This initiative provides aspiring business owners with a one-year window to kickstart their business idea, with the possibility of a one-year extension.


Need assistance to get started in the Netherlands/Europe

If you're considering expanding your business to the Netherlands or Europe, we encourage you to get in touch with Hub van Grinsven at Maprima Business Support BV ( Feel free to reach out for assistance and guidance.