The Netherlands’ competitive position for investments is at risk

50 euro notes moneyDutch companies are investing more of their research and development budget abroad and foreign companies are investing less in the Netherlands, putting pressure on the competitive position of the country as an attractive location for innovative companies.

The warning comes from the independent Rathenau Instituut in a report published on Monday.

The institute says the total amount invested in R&D by Dutch companies abroad rose from €417m in 1999 to €1.5bn in 2013, the most recent figure available.

In comparison, foreign companies invested less of their R&D budget in the Netherlands: 13.5% in 2013 compared with 15.2% in 1999.

Growing gap

The gap between the incoming and outgoing development and innovation money is therefore growing, the Financieele Dagblad reports.

The figures show that Dutch technology companies increasingly often look abroad for the best people, universities and hotspots. ‘What is important is having multiple locations with the right people,’ Pieter van Nuenen of chip maker NXP, told the paper.

NXP has 20 R&D centres across the world and invests €747m a year in R&D. ‘Where people are physically is of little interest to NXP,’ Van Nuenen said. ‘The right know how is never just in the Netherlands.’


Oil giant Shell has reduced the amount of its R&D budget spent in the Netherlands from 50% to 33% since 2005, and chip machinery maker ASML has decreased the percentage of its budget from 90 to 80%, according to the FD.

However, the Rathenau institute does not foresee a massive movement of research and development out of the Netherlands. A great deal of time and money has been invested in the research centres in the Netherlands and they are therefore kept well up-to-date, the institute says.




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