The Netherlands should not focus on technical patents and high-tech spin-offs but on education and generating and circulating knowledge if it wants to be a leading economy in 20 years’ time.
This is the conclusion of the government’s scientific research council WRR in a report presented to prime minister Mark Rutte on Monday evening and reported in the Financieele Dagblad.
The report concludes that the Dutch economy is not future proof and that the Netherlands will still be earning its income from agriculture, horticulture and chemicals in 20 years if it does not change its aging structures and way of thinking.
‘History shows you must build on your strengths,’ Peter van Lieshout, economics professor at Utrecht university and the report’s main author, said at the presentation. ‘The government must react to local initiatives and see what they need in the way of support, but it must not make a blueprint for a region.’
The government is too fixated on short-term results and must come up with a durable economic policy for the long term, according to Van Lieshout.
The WRR report gives a great deal of attention to education. Educators need to make better assessments of what Dutch society needs. Children must learn to learn, learn to see opportunities and learn to be creative. Universities must choose what they are good at: teaching or research.