The Netherlands has Europe’s most competitive region

A draft version of the European Commission’s Regional Competitiveness Index (RCI) has just been released in which three out of the top 10 most competitive regions are in the Netherlands.

The top spot went to Utrecht, as it did in the inaugural 2010 edition of the index. The Amsterdam region was placed sixth, while Zuid Holland was rated tenth.

Regional Competitiveness Index

The survey was designed to improve the understanding of competitiveness at the regional level by rating the strengths and weaknesses of EU statistical regions.

It covers a wide range of issues related to territorial competitiveness, including innovation, quality of institutions, infrastructure and measures of health and human capital.

This aim of the index is to set up an RCI time series to assist regions in setting the right priorities to further increase their competitiveness. The RCI is then a guide to what each region should focus on, taking into account specific situations and overall levels of development.

Best and worst regions

Both the UK and the Netherlands each had three regions in the top 10, while Sweden, Germany, France and Denmark had one each. The least competitive areas in the EU are found in Bulgaria, Greece and Romania.

The report noted it was striking that seven out of the top 10 are either capital regions or regions including large cities. It also noted that in some countries there were large gaps or high variations in regional competitiveness.

European Commission Regional Competitiveness Ranking 2013

For example, the gap between the capital region and the second most competitive region in Romania, Slovakia and France is very wide, whereas regional competitiveness in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden is roughly the same across the board.

This is yet another high ranking for the Netherlands in 2013, coming quickly after Amsterdam's ranking as the fourth most creative global city, and the Netherlands in fourth position in the Global Innovation Index.

To read the RCI draft report, click here. The European Commission is asking for comments on the report by end of September 2013, to be reflected in the final version.

  Region Rating
1 Utrecht 100
2 London area 94
3 Berk-, Bukingham- & Oxfordshire 94
4 Stockholm region 93
5 Surrey, East & West Sussex 91
6 Amsterdam region 90
7 Frankfurt region 89
8 Paris region 89
9 Copenhagen region 89
10 Zuid-Holland 88

Source: European Commission

Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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