What is happening in the Netherlands? Why is this tiny country of 17 million people scoring at the top of all the relevant international rankings?

Dutch company ASML has made the smallest chip in the world, meaning that phones and laptops are becoming smaller, faster, and more energy-efficient. Photo: ASML Netherlands BV.

The 4th most competitive economy in the world – best in EU (World Economic Forum); the 5th most innovative country; all universities in the top 200 of global rankings; winners of global challenges like: SpaceX Hyperloop, Amazon Parcel Picking Challenge; 7x Solar Endurance World Champions; RoboCup Soccer World champion; and a Chemistry Nobel prize for Ben Feringa for developing nano machines made of moving molecules – the world’s smallest mechanical devices suitable for medical interventions.

Why? Maybe it is because the Dutch always ask that crucial question: Why? They challenge authority, and like to think differently and come up with creative solutions. The Netherlands is in its core the ultimate innovation nation.

The microscope, WiFi, CD and DVD technology, the first submarine and Bluetooth are all examples that have inspired science, industry and society to step into the future. The Dutch solution-driven approach and can-do mentality makes it the perfect incubator for innovations. And our technology firms are at the forefront of developing solutions for the world’s toughest challenges.

In a short amount of time, the Netherlands has become a hotbed for tech businesses. This tiny country brings together high-skilled techies and a centuries-old drive for innovation.  No wonder companies as Uber and Netflix decided to have their European headquarters in Amsterdam.

A team of Dutch tech students won the prize for best Hyperloop capsule in a contest organized by SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space travel company.

The number of startups that grew into a fast-growing scale-up has tripled in 2016. More than 3200 scale ups have created almost 40,000 jobs in the Netherlands in the last three years.

Due to its location, the Netherlands is the gateway to Europe. Innovation, societal challenges, and the best tech universities have created a buzzing startup ecosystem, with Amsterdam as its capital of cool. What makes the Dutch ecosystem so special?

  • Innovation: Holland is the ultimate innovation nation. We don’t just ask questions, we find the answers, too. Fighting rising sea levels for centuries has created our solution-driven spirit. Our technology firms are at the forefront of developing smart solutions for the world’s toughest challenges. The Dutch constantly look to improve citizens’ quality of life.
  • Connecting: Local hubs as StartupAmsterdam and national initiatives as StartupDelta connect startups to the right investors and clients, support breaking down barriers, and actively help startups to professionalize as they go international.
  • Driving collaboration: Partnerships between businesses, universities, government and NGO’s is part of the Dutch DNA. And it’s part of the startup ecosystem. To enhance innovation among startups, partnerships are key to the successful Dutch ecosystem.