Record high foreign investment brings fewer jobs to the Netherlands

Record high foreign investment brings fewer jobs to the Netherlands

The number of new jobs generated by foreign investment in the Netherlands dwindled by around 25 per cent between 2013 and 2014, according to a statement by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

This decrease comes in spite of the fact that foreign investment almost doubled over that two-year period.

An attractive economy

Over the past several years, Dutch governmental initiatives, led by the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) have focused on maximising opportunities for foreign companies to invest in a variety of projects in the Netherlands.

In 2012, 5.000 new jobs were created through foreign investment. This number soared to 8.500 in 2013, thanks mainly to foreign direct investment from the United States and a number of projects led by Asian firms.

Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp attributes companies’ growing interest in the Netherlands to the high education level of the Dutch population, and the country’s sophisticated digital infrastructure.

The total sum of foreign investment in the Netherlands for 2014 attests to the increasing attractiveness of the Dutch economy. In that year, non-Dutch companies contributed 3,2 billion euros, as opposed to 1,7 billion in 2013.

The 2014 growth was due in part to a handful of high-profile (and mainly American) projects, including the establishment of a Google datacentre in Groningen, an American Eagle distribution centre and a new Netherlands-based European headquarters for Netflix.

Canadian company Northland Power also contributed 1,6 billion euros towards the new Gemini wind park in Groningen.

Jobs lagging behind?

However, the jump in investment did not bring about a proportional increase in the number of jobs created.

In fact, the actual number of new jobs generated by foreign companies decreased, from around 8.500 in 2013 to 6.304 in 2014.

NFIA remains optimistic at the continued growth in investment capital, with analysts acknowledging that it was largely the extensiveness of several 2013 projects, mainly in the fields of supply chain and distribution, that accounts for the record number of jobs produced that year.

According to Minister Lilianne Ploumen, jointly responsible for NFIA with Minister Kamp, a priority for the Dutch government in coming years should be to focus on expanding foreign investment opportunities in sectors currently generating the most new jobs - namely ICT, life sciences, chemicals and agrifood.

Moreover, Minister Ploumen emphasises the need for the Netherlands to attract more innovative startups, as these have a high job-creation potential. Amsterdam and other Dutch cities are already investing in becoming startup hubs, with initiatives like StartUpAmsterdam and StartUpDelta aimed at bringing in and supporting new businesses.

Emily McCallum


Emily McCallum

Emily grew up in a small coastal town in western Canada and moved to Utrecht in 2014, after completing her studies in Vancouver and Germany. So far, she has been...

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