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Innovation in the Netherlands not restricted to metropolitan areas

05 March 2018
Innovation Smart cities
Innovation is not exclusively an urban phenomenon in the Netherlands. Half of all innovative enterprises are located in some thirty municipalities, while the rest are situated elsewhere.

Innovative start-ups and fast-growing ‘scale-ups’ are concentrated mainly in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Haarlemmermeer and Utrecht. These are the results of an analysis published today by the Rathenau Instituut.

Each sector has its own hotspots, but that does not mean that sectors are concentrated exclusively in certain regions. Enterprises and knowledge institutions seek partners throughout the Netherlands. In the High Tech sector, for example, the enterprises and institutes clustered in Brainport Eindhoven work with partners in Amsterdam, Delft, and Enschede, while Agro & Food knowledge partners in Wageningen are linked to the agriculture and horticulture sector across the country.

EU perspective

All the Dutch regions perform better than the EU average. The provinces of Utrecht, Noord-Brabant and Noord-Holland are at the top of the EU rankings. The presence of tertiary school graduates is an important prerequisite for innovation. They live all around the country, but with heavy concentrations in cities that have universities. Innovative start-up and ‘scale-up’ firms are typical urban phenomena and are concentrated in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Haarlemmermeer and Utrecht.

Investing in innovation

In 2015, Dutch investment in R&D came to 14 billion euros, 56% of this by the private sector. The analysis by the Rathenau Instituut shows that in the province of Zuid-Holland investments in R&D are highest (3 billion euros), followed by the province of Noord-Brabant (2.8 billion euros).