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Netherlands The


O L D E S T NA T I O NA L ANTHEM Both the words and music date from the 16th century, and in it the Dutch king speaks of his German blood and describes his loyalty to the Spanish crown.

THE HEALTHIEST COUNTRY FOR DIET The Netherlands ranked first in the world, for having the most nutritious, healthy and affordable food among 125 countries.

WORLD’S LEAD ING TULIP EXPORTER Almost 80 percent of the world's flower bulbs come from the Netherlands.

CDS, DVDS & BLU-RAY I NV E N T I O N H O ME T O M O R E B I K E S THAN PEOPLE There are around 18 million bikes in the country.

Philips, a major Dutch company, developed CDs in 1979, in a joint project with Sony, in their headquarters in Eindhoven.



Frontrunners Need to Press Harder I am convinced that Serbia has the potential to join the EU family and it has taken significant steps in this direction. The Netherlands will be a strict, fair and committed partner during this process I N T E RV I E W



nlock your potential - that seems to be the key message which the Ambassador of the Netherlands, H.E. Henk van den Dool, has for his Serbian interlocutors and policy makers. In this interview, the Dutch ambassador explains why rule of law, anticorruption procedures and freedom of expression matter. Do you expect 2018, to be the key year for the future of the EU integrations of the Western Balkan and Serbia as many political commentators are suggesting? — It is certain that the EU integration of the Western Balkans has been put high on the political agenda already in the first half of this year. After the European Commission issued its strategy for the Western Balkans in February, it published its country reports in April, we had the summit in Sofia in May and in June the General Affairs Council will discuss the enlargement package. All these steps show that the EU is committed to the European future of the region and wishes to provide a realistic and concrete accession perspective. It is however not a promise: whether Serbia and other Western Balkan countries will eventually join the EU simply depends on whether they fulfill the criteria for EU membership. The accession process is merit-based, measurable and trans-


parent: the Netherlands will be a strict, fair and committed partner during this process. I am convinced that Serbia has the potential to join the EU family and it has taken significant steps in this direction. Nevertheless, it will require much more work in crucial areas such as the rule of law, anticorruption and fundamental rights such as freedom of expression. Political will is key to addressing these issues and moving forward on the path towards EU membership.

While Serbia is seen as a forerunner in the accession process, there are many areas in which more visible progress has to be made such as rule of law and media freedom. Do you consider recent government activities such as judicial reform and the call for the new approach to the Media strategy as promising? — Indeed, Serbia is considered as a frontrunner, but maintaining this position requires continuous efforts and steady progress. The recent EU progress report for Serbia is clear when it comes to the rule of law: more can be done and more should be done. Ongoing judicial reforms need to strengthen the rule of law and result in tangible improvements. In order to achieve this, consistent implementation of reform measures, full political commit-

Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Political will is key to addressing crucial areas such as the rule of law, anticorruption and fundamental rights such as freedom of expression

ment and constructive cooperation between various stakeholders – including the government, independent institutions, civil society and professional organizations – remain essential. When it comes to media freedom there is still a lot of work to be done, which is reflected in the EU progress report and in Serbia’s drop in the World Press Freedom Index and the Freedom House ranking. Among many issues that are of importance for media freedom, the most concerning is safety of journalists. All attacks, verbal and physical, need to be timely processed and perpetrators punished. Regarding the Media Strategy, that should have already been in place, I think that the call for new approach in drafting it is a positive step forward. This should be an integrative and consultative process. The Netherlands attaches great importance to freedom of expression and freedom of media. Therefore we closely monitor the situation in Serbia and in Montenegro and support projects contributing to creating better conditions for freedom of expression. What are your expectations when it comes to economic reforms and the new IMF agreement? — The state of the Serbian economy today, is certainly different from where it was a few years ago. The results, particularly in the macro-fiscal field, are praiseworthy and I think the effects are evident. Both the fiscal deficit and the debt-to-GDP ratio were reduced sig-



nificantly, helping to put Serbia’s public finances on a more sustainable path and working toward establishing a functioning market economy. Overall, there has been progress across reform areas and in many sectors there is a better acknowledgement of what needs to be implemented and how urgent these reforms are. That said, there is still a lot to be done and it’s important that reform fatigue is managed and a sense of complacency amid postive results doesn’t set-in. Sustainability is the key word, so the focus now is to ensure that the momentum is kept in order to keep Serbia’s economy on a positive trajectory in order to facilitate dynamic growth. In that sense, the ongoing negotiations with the IMF regarding a new arrangement are a welcome indicator that the Government intends on following through. What does Serbia need in order to unlock its potential and attract more multinational companies and FDI? — Serbia has significant economic potential across economic sectors, be it due to its geographic location, favourable climate, skilled workforce, various free trade agreements and many other factors. The succesful presence of a number of large well-known international corporations in Serbia, several of them prominent Dutch names, is illustrative of this. That said, one of the key issues that is still holding the economy back, and one I hear about from companies often, remains the rule of law and the efficiency of public institutions. If Serbia is to unlock its potential and attract more multinational companies and FDI, addressing these issues is key. Companies make strategic decisions based on the predictability of doing business, which is, to a large extent, based

tural technologies, which help make the Netherlands the second largest exporters of agricultural products, to Serbia. In addition, my team is currently working on a trade mission for Dutch companies interested in investments and partnerships in the Serbian soft-fruit sector. Before that, sixteen Dutch companies active in the water and energy sectors were present at this year’s RENEXPO.

on the uniform and transparent application of regulations which affect the business environment, such as the uniform application of tax regulations, execution of inspections and application of parafiscal charges. In that sense, the Government’s initiatives to reduce the administrative burden for businesses in general, including start-ups, in order to encourage (youth) entrepreneurship and increasing the ease of doing business are positive developments and will be important for Serbia’s growth. In addition, progress on (key) infrastructural projects that increase economic activity and facilitate greater (regional) connectivity, can do much to further unlock Serbia’s significant potential. Has rising bilateral trade caused more interest in cooperation between Dutch and Serbian companies and sparked more advanced models of cooperation? — I’m very glad to see that there is an increasing interest in Serbia from Dutch companies, from a variety of sectors, on top of the fact that companies registered in the Netherlands have invested nearly two billion euro over the past five years in Serbia. Whilst companies, of course, make their decisions based on their calculations and strategies, we do our part to encourage them to invest in Serbia. Amongst other things last March, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, together with our Embassies in the region, organised a Doing Business in the Western Balkans Day in the Hague, which gathered over eighty Dutch companies interested in the region. Most recently, our agricultural department, which organised an excellent Dutch pavillion at the Novi Sad agricultural fair, brought fourteen Dutch agri companies, and their state of the art agricul-


TRADE MISSION My team is currently working on a trade mission for Dutch companies interested in investments and partnerships in the Serbian soft-fruit sector.

How will the Dutch bilateral and donor agenda further support reform processes in Serbia? — The Dutch bilateral and donor agenda remains complementary to the agenda of the EU. Strengthening democratic processes, the rule of law, public institutions and civil society has long been a focus area for the Netherlands’ foreign policy. One of the longest running assistance programs in this area is the Netherlands’ Fund for Regional Partnership – MATRA, which we implement in all candidate countries, including Serbia. MATRA projects are primarily focused on the capacity development and institutional strengthening of local civil society organizations, the judiciary and public institutions; and promoting constructive dialogue between these various actors. The Netherlands has a rich tradition when it comes to a sound relationship between government and citizens and a stable political culture. This has helped the Netherlands accumulate specific knowledge on democracy, the rule of law and human rights, from which Serbia can benefit. Apart from supporting Serbia’s EU prospects, the projects that we jointly implement help us to further strengthen the bilateral relationship between our two countries and create partnerships for the future.




We are Committed to Introducing New and Innovative Products In the period when the brewing industry generally experienced a decline, HEINEKEN Serbia achieved market share growth. Now, when the market is recovering the company expects to further profit from its devotion to consumers’ needs and innovative approach in introducing new products



EINEKEN entered the Serbian market in 2004, and made its first acquisitions of the domestic breweries in Novi Sad and Zaječar a decade ago, or more accurately in 2008, and 2009. Today it is the only brewing company which operates in two breweries. Starting from a much smaller market share HEINEKEN Srbija gradually built up its profile, market recognition and market share by investing 200 million in technology, activities, innovative products and projects aimed at building partnerships with customers and the local communities. We took the opportunity to speak with Viktor Gillhofer, Director of HEINKEN Serbia to talk about the evolution of the brewing industry in Serbia, the company’s strategy in the Serbian market and its involvement in social responsibility projects. The latest one is the campaign "Let's Open Together the National Museum" in which one dinar of each sold specially designed can of Zaječarsko will be donated for the opening of the oldest museum institution in Serbia.


The brewery association of Serbia has recently announced that the beer industry in Serbia continues to record slight recovery. What do your results show? — In the period when the brewing industry generally experienced a decline, HEINEKEN Serbia achieved market share growth. Not only have we expanded our market scale, but we have extended our portfolio of brands as well. Just recently we have introduced very popular and worldwide known brands - Italian Birra Moretti® and Jamaican Red Stripe® and one local brand Zaječarsko Pšenično®. Taking into account all socio-economic aspects, consumers have recognized our commitment and strong will to gain trust by providing top quality products at an attractive price. How much has the beer market changed in Serbia since HEINEKEN joined 10 years ago? — We made a great progress since we entered this market, but so has the market itself. The beer market in Serbia is following the global trends and is more


competitive, more dynamic and diversified than it was ten years ago. In this sense, there is a wide range of offerings to consumers, including important niche of craft breweries also contributing to these trends. Serbian consumers take into account the ratio of price, quality and taste of beer, so the quality of the product must fully justify its monetary value. HEINEKEN Serbia is trying to market products that cover all consumer segments by offering superior products at the best price. At the same time, we are committed to introducing new and innovative products to meet customer needs, especially those customers following modern trends of healthy lifestyle. Therefore, this year we launched Heineken® 0.0, a non-alcoholic beer allowing beer drinkers to enjoy their favorite taste at a business lunch or sports event.

HEINEKEN Serbia is trying to market products that cover all consumer segments by offering superior products at the best price.

What has the particular arrival of foreign brewery companies and your know-how, technology and working methods meant when it came to changes in the chain - from agriculture to





end consumer? — HEINEKEN Serbia is focused on establishing a sustainable business to ensure a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with our customers and the local communities in which we operate. We have a clear and specific strategy when it comes to the way we do business. Sustainability is essential and very important part of HEINEKEN’s strategy. First of all, the use of domestic raw materials in the production of beer is an investment in the community. It stimulates the local economy and positively influences the economy of Serbia. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of hop in Serbia, and had this not been the case, all local beer brands could have been made from 100% local raw materials. As for local sourcing results, in 2017 we

of brewing in Serbia? — European beer market is recovering and according to analyzes, by 2022, it is expected to increase by 6.2%. We are ambitious and want to explore all the real possibilities. There are many options ahead of us, but we are going step by step. HEINEKEN Company is the only brewer in Serbia, which actively operates in two breweries and has invested more than 200 million euros since it entered the Serbian market. It is our plan to further invest in technology, activities and projects. We will continue to listen to the needs of our consumers since, nowadays, their voice and opinions cannot and must not be neglected nor disregarded. Popular mainstream beers, including our Zaječarsko, will al-

increased the use of domestic raw materials by 150% compared to 2010. That is why I can say that production stimulates the development of domestic agriculture. As part of the manufacturing sector, breweries had the largest share in creating GDP growth from 15.6% in 2016. In addition, the manufacturing sector has a real growth of gross value added (GVA) of 2.2%. In this context, the state respects the companies and therefore should stimulate their growth and the growth of the beer category through a predictable business environment.

ways be dominant in the market, but it is necessary to make premium brands more accessible.

How much are today's business conditions in favor of further development

What are your priorities when it comes to sustainable business and CSR? — For HEINEKEN, it is globally important to actively participate in activities related to social responsibility projects and to contribute to the development of the local community. HEINEKEN is internally very active in terms of the safety of its employees, because nothing is more important than safety of our people. When we talk about environmental protection, we have launched many initiatives related to energy and water

consumption savings, which has a significant impact on our environment. As one of the leading beer producers, HEINEKEN Serbia constantly pursues activities that promote moderate consumption and responsible behavior. We promote responsible consumption through well-known action "Guys, who drives home?", which HEINEKEN Serbia conducts in cooperation with the Traffic Safety Agency for the sixth year in a row at summer festivals in Serbia, as well as through educational workshops at faculties of the University of Belgrade, in cooperation with The Traffic Safety Committee, as a part of the global campaign "When you drive, never drink". During 2018, we will certainly expand the scope of campaign activities that promote responsible consumption.

As one of the leading beer producers, HEINEKEN Serbia constantly pursues activities that promote moderate consumption and responsible behavior

As a socially responsible company, we are proud that Zaječarsko beer, together with its consumers, will make an important contribution to the reconstruction and reopening of the National Museum in Belgrade. In February, we started the campaign "Let's Open Together the National Museum" in which one dinar of each sold specially designed can of Zaječarsko will be donated for the opening of the oldest museum institution in Serbia. So far, more than 30,000 euros have been collected, and the exact sum of the sale of specially designed cans of Zaječarsko beer will be known at the end of the campaign, after June 15th.




Investors Value Reform Efforts


hen I arrived to Serbia, in early 2015, the Government of Serbia had already embarked on an ambitious reform agenda to work towards solidifying stability, predictability and transparency and had just signed a stand-by agreement with the IMF. I’m glad to say that since then we’ve seen some significant results, ranging from a substantial macro-fiscal adjustment, to improvements in e-governance and construction permitting and other business friendly reforms”, says Oliver Sarov, Senior Policy Adviser for Economic Affairs & Trade, Embassy of the Netherlands. “Given the importance of each measure that is taken in the right direction, as well as the wide scope of sectors in which Dutch companies are active in, I wouldn’t want to single-out any policies. Rather, what has been important is the fact that there has been a clear signal that the Government recognizes the needs of the private sector and is committed to finding solutions to unlocking Serbia’s economic potential”, says Sarov. There is no need to say that investors from the Netherlands value stability, predictability and transparency, and value these efforts. They haven’t gone unnoticed: potential Dutch investors are interested to enter the Serbian market, while the existing ones want to maintain or increase their presence. What does the experience of existing Dutch investors suggest when it comes to bottlenecks in doing business in Serbia? — As I mentioned, Dutch investors make strategic business decisions. In order to be able to make well-informed decisions, being able to acquire a clear picture of the necessary administrative and legal prerequirements, the involved


costs and the amount of time and energy required is absolutely crucial, as is being able to depend on the uniform application of regulations and a quick and efficient judiciary system. Unfortunately, that can often prove more challenging than expected, especially for investors who are new to the region. Many of these bottlenecks can be alleviated by up-to-date information, whilst others require institutional and regulatory change. In that sense, I am glad to note several Government initiatives aimed at simplifying administrative procedures. What do you see as key policies which would make the Serbian economy more conducive to growth of the domestic private sector? — We’ve already touched upon the positive effects of further simplifying administrative procedures, streamlining public services, increasing the efficiency of the judiciary and digitalization. In general, I would say that any policy which alleviates entrepreneurs of administrative burdens, and increases predictability and transparency so that entrepreneurs can focus on formulating business strategies and making sustainable decisions should be seen as a key policy for private sector growth. Apart from that, I strongly believe that formulating truly effective policies can only be done through engaging in substantial, open and continuous public-private dialogue. Only through ongoing communication between all relevant stakeholders; local and central Governments, small and large enterprises and research and educational institutes throughout the country, can sustainable solutions be found. In fact, exactly that has been one of the keys to the success of the Dutch economy.

The Serbian Government gave a clear signal in finding solutions to unlocking Serbia’s economic potential. Dutch investors are interested to enter the Serbian market, while the existing ones want to maintain and increase their presence I N T E RV I E W

OLIVER SAROV Senior Policy Adviser for Economic Affairs & Trade, Embassy of the Netherlands

Formulating truly effective policies can only be done through engaging in substantial, open and continuous public-private dialogue

I’m glad to see a similar practice developing in Serbia, with organizations such as the FIC, NALED and the Chamber of Commerce, just to name a few, actively participating in the formulation of economic policies and the implementation of reforms. Further strengthening and institutionalizing this practice will be key to unlocking Serbia’s significant economic potential. What lessons might be taken from the Dutch experience when it comes to the support of the entrepreneurial spirit among young people? — Serbia has a significant amount of incredibly bright young people, with excellent ideas, many of whom have been able to leave their mark internationally and I feel privileged to be in contact with many of them on a regular basis. I’m also glad to see entrepreneurship hubs such as Impact Hub, Nova Iskra, StartIT and others flourishing. It shows that Serbia is full of energetic, savvy, dynamic and innovative people with strong ambitions. What is most important is that they are provided with the conditions they need to develop and implement their innovative ideas. In the Netherlands, we have worked hard to understand what entrepreneurs need and to facilitate that as best we can – through public-private dialogue, tax incentives, subsidies and other policies. At the same time, schools provide classes that help young minds formulate and implement business ideas from a young age. As a result, most of my friends run their own businesses. I’m the odd one out, working in the public sector.



New, Audacious and Different The nation-wide campaign “Let’s Open the National Museum Together” was created with the aim of promoting social responsibility of one of the great domestic brands, the Zaječarsko Beer



e wanted to offer HEINEKEN Serbia, as our client and partner, a new and different campaign, which will include the citizens of Serbia contributing to the reconstruction and re-opening of the National Museum, the oldest museum in the country, by buying a popular product", Ivan Kleut, Client Service Director at Golin Belgrade, explains how the artwork of Paja Jovanović, Sava Šumanović, Nadežda Petrović and Dimitrije Avramović are depicted on the specially designed cans of the Zaječarsko Beer, produced by HEINEKEN. But let's start this story from the very beginning. In their home country, the Netherlands, HEINEKEN has designed special bottles featuring Rembrandt’s artwork, in honour of the famous painter. Furthermore, the beer giant has also partnered with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and to that end, Van Gogh's Sunflowers was also depicted on Heineken® bottles. "Personally, as someone who studied art history, I liked this type of support one celebrated name supporting the other. Why shouldn’t we then also do the same, namely use the artwork of great Serbian painters on the packaging of the best domestic beer brand?” Kleut says. Could you tell us how did that look in practice, i.e. to use the idea from

IVAN KLEUT Client Service Director at Golin Belgrade


PRIVILEGE Art is not a privilege of the elite which is why we decided to use commercial channels to give the general public the opportunity to participate in the campaign and help the opening of the National Museum.

the Netherlands (Heineken honouring Rembrandt) in Belgrade? — HEINEKEN Serbia liked the idea we presented, and we were especially pleased that they understood it. The idea was also immediately approved by the representatives of the National Museum. Preparation for the project implementation was extensive and the reputation of the institution, the National Museum, was carefully taken into account, as well as all the criteria that HEINEKEN adheres to. Also, owing to this campaign, HEINEKEN Serbia has once again invested in the community in which it operates, while cultivating tradition and cultural / artistic heritage. The artwork that adorns the special series of the Zaječarsko beer should evoke pleasant feelings in consumers, in addition to promoting the company that has socially responsible operations. This is why, through mutual agreement, we selected a portrait of Vuk Karadžić, as a man who reformed the language we use, a play with the characters from the national pantheon sung about in epic poems, and two landscapes from different parts of Serbia, painted by Nadežda Petrović and Sava Šumanović. How did the professionals and the wider public accept the idea of merging beer with the paintings by famous Serbian painters?

— When your peers, with whom you have studied and who today hold important positions in cultural institutions, praise the campaign, you know that you have participated in the creation of something good. These people are, at the same time, grateful because you are conceiving ways to gather funds for culture that the state never seems to have enough. When the campaign was launched and when specially designed cans featuring the artwork of with Paja Jovanović, Sava Šumanović, Nadežda Petrović and Dimitrije Avramović, hit supermarkets, shoppers were confused at first, but they did like the idea. The moment they discovered that one dinar from each purchase went to the renovation of the National Museum, they were immediately eager to support it. And this is the essence of this campaign. Is this kind of campaign an exception, or a part of Golin’s trade mark? — We, in Golin, are guided by the "bravery over mediocrity" motto. With this attitude, we created numerous award-winning campaigns in various industries that promote the socially responsible character of our clients. I believe that the campaign "Let's Open the National Museum Together" promotes our agency’s motto, because it is new, audacious and different.




Think Green - Think Wind Serbian green energy sector is yet to be developed


indVision combines the Dutch and Belgian know-how, where strong partnerships, customer service, and creative solutions all are a part of the perfect equation, making this great team. While working on projects in 6 different countries, the company is looking forward to investing in Serbia, and changing the country for the better. As an investor with eight years of experience in investing in green energy what would you outline as the biggest Serbian potential in that area?



NEDA LAZENDIĆ Country Manager WindVision Serbia

— Serbia is a country of an immense potential when it comes to green energy, but despite that, it largely bases its electricity generation on fossil fuels. One of the strongest assets in this sense is wind, but there is also significant potential in geothermal energy and biomass. Biomass is especially interesting since the CHP technology generates not only electrical energy but also heat that can be further used for heating of greenhouses, warehouses and production facilities in industrial application. The bottom line is that it is time for a sharp turn towards the green energy sources in general, and our company is ready to be part of that shift. How your project in Alibunar fits in in the still modest sector of wind farms in Serbia? — We have two projects in the pipeline, Alibunar 1 and Alibunar 2, 174MW in total. Our projects are not in the CAP now, but we are awaiting to see the new incentive package to be introduced by the Ministry of Mining and Energy. The new regulation will most likely introduce so-called auction system in place.

This means that producers will have to compete with production prices, but this is also just fine and our efficient technologies allow us to work under such pricing model as well. Windvision is an experienced company that operates under different business models in this business across the globe and we have sufficient capacity to do the same at the local market. Has the business environment changed over the years, and is it today more accommodating for the investors from your branch? — It is difficult to say if the environment got better. In energy sector, for instance, we still seek for more predictable legal framework that would allow better and more long run planning. Too frequent changes in laws and bylaws are not helpful since developers need to base their projects, technologies and calculations taking into account stabile legal framework and market trends that are less easy to control and predict. This is why, for instance, we still have not started with construction works in projects Alibunar 1 and Alibunar 2, but we



look forward to the new regulation as to a new foundation for implementation of the projects. How the Dutch knowhow can be adapted to the Serbian circumstances? — Windvision is a firm that combines Dutch and Belgian experience, capital and knowhow. At the same time, we are an international firm having projects in six countries across two continents. Our approach values and takes into consideration importance of local communities and their engagement. Form strong partnerships with our clients and customers, as well as with local communities. In this way, we contribute to the overall development and support economic growth of rural areas. We invest in these areas while making sure that our strategic goals are in line with the needs of local communities. Besides this, Dutch approach to resource, and especially sustainable resources management is something worth mentioning as well. Needless to say that The Netherlands had always to look for creative solutions and use scarce resources as optimally as possible. The lack of natural resources made Dutch more inventive, drove the growth of science and its application in industry and improved green energy technologies development and application. The Dutch base their policies on long-term strategies and diversification in order to make the entire energy system more robust and resilient. In that respect, Serbia as a country with incredible natural resources would definitely benefit by embracing some of this experience. Who do you see as the most important stakeholders and partners in Serbia and Netherland in the process of Serbian transition to the renewable energies? — Everybody who understands importance of green energy and sustainable resource management is our natural stakeholders. Our regular stakeholders and partners include the Ministry of Energy in the first place. We have good communication with the Ministry and we see improvement in openness in terms of policy dialogue each year. Next to the government, we regularly maintain relations with municipalities connected to our project. In terms of transition to green technologies, we are constantly in touch with stakeholders that support this process from a policy perspective. The Dutch and Belgium Embassies and IFIs such as EBRD, EIB, IFC are important pillars in

this process and they help the entire industry to have better and more EU-alike legislation. Our firm is also very active in NALED and AmCham, organizations that also contribute to better policy dialogue and policymaking in energy sector. What is the role of consumers and their attitudes in shaping the clear environment? — Nowadays, consumers are getting more and more interested in sustainable products, they are interested if

they are manufactured responsibly, and they generally pay attention to environmental impacts of their products. These trends are shaping the markets and habits in most of the developed world, and they are slowly entering the region as well. In that regard, consumers will most probably favor green over coal-based energy and push their governments to be more supportive in this regard. This is why green energy is not just the energy of future, but of the present as well.


STRATEGIES The Dutch base their policies on long-term strategies and diversification in order to make the entire energy system more robust and resilient. In that respect, Serbia as a country with incredible natural resources would definitely benefit by embracing some of this experience.




Land of Diligent People Reclaimed from the sea ECONOM Y

he Dutch take special pride in the saying: “God created the world, and the Dutch the Netherlands�, with their hard work, solidarity and liberal individualism. Indeed, they reclaimed the land from the sea and adapted it to themselves. This is also a gift of God to the Dutch, so to speak, because the Netherlands has such a favourable climate precisely because of the sea and the warm Gulf Stream, although the country is, in fact, quite far in the north of Europe. It was precisely because of the sea, that is the North Sea which is connected to the Atlantic, that the Dutch became such a skilful ship masters and maritime merchants who triggered the first globalization. But, it is the sea that they reclaimed a large chunk of their land from. The Netherlands has a developed economy and for several centuries, has played a special role in the European economy. Since the 16th century, shipping, fishing, agriculture, commerce and banking have been the leading sectors of the Dutch economy. The Netherlands has a high level of economic freedom.


It is one of the highly ranked countries in the Global Trade Facilitation Report, and it is among the world's five most competitive economies as determined by the Swiss International Management Development Institute in 2017. Furthermore, the country ranked the third most innovative in the world according to the Global Innovation Index, also in 2017. In 2017, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy, China and Russia were the main trading partners of the Netherlands. The country is one of the top 10 leading exporters in the world which is an astounding success considering how small it is. Food products make up the largest segment of the industrial sector, which is not surprising given the vast plain that the Netherlands has. Other major industries are chemical, metallurgy, machinery, electrical goods, commerce, services and tourism. Examples of international Dutch companies which have been operating in the Netherlands since their establishment, but have now become global players include Randstad, Unilever, Heineken, and KLM. Also, the country has re-

The Netherlands has a stunningly good, 17th largest economy in the world, and it occupies the 10th place in terms of the (nominal) GDP per capita


nowned companies in financial services (ING, ABN AMRO, Rabobank), chemicals (DSM, AKZO), petroleum processing (Shell), electronics (Philips, ASML), and satellite navigation (TomTom). The Netherlands has a stunningly good, 17th largest economy in the world, and it occupies the 10th place in terms of the (nominal) GDP per capita. Between 1997 and 2000, the annual economic growth (GDP) was on average almost 4%, well above the European average. This growth significantly declined in the period from 2001 to 2005 with a global economic slowdown, but rose to 4.1% in the third quarter of 2007. In May 2013, the annual inflation was 2.8%. In April 2013, the unemployment was 8.2% (or 6.7% according to the ILO criteria) of the workforce. Certain improvement is noticeable, as we are moving away from the global economic crisis that began 10 years ago. In April 2017, the unemployment was reduced to 5.1%. All in all, the land of farmers and merchants who reclaimed their country from the sea, tamed the wind and used it for its windmills and ships, while having an open approach to the world and providing a safe haven for the persecuted Jews from Iberia and Huguenots from France, today proudly exists under the sun as one of the world's leading economies.




f we look at the northern third of the Serbian land, we can see that it looks pretty much like the Netherlands: the plains, wind, big waterways, agriculture, shipbuilding, opportunities for development of technology... The cooperation between the two countries is good, but it is precisely these areas that hold opportunities for progress. So far, there has been a lot of talk about the economic potential for the development of cooperation, with the Dutch companies expressing a special interest in cooperating with Serbia in the sectors like shipbuilding, production of buses and trucks, as well as in the field of energy and agriculture. The political and economic relations between Serbia and the Netherlands have been developing in a positive direction in recent years and, according to the National Bank of Serbia, the Netherlands is one of the largest investors in our country. The Dutch companies had invested more than 6 billion euros in Serbia by May 2018. The Netherlands thus became one of the largest investors with as many as 15,000 workers in Serbia working for Dutch firms. Companies such as Ahold-Delhaize, Heineken, KupujemProdajem, 010, Levi9, Affidea, Vahali, Windvision and many others are significant players globally, and in Serbia, at the local level - the Dutch Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Mr. Henk van den Dool points out.

ella Van Miltenburg, said at the end of last year: "Our companies are leading in the production of fodder, shipbuilding, and beer production, and they are also present in the IT sector and retail”. Ms. Van Miltenburg also noted that there was room for further improvement of the economic cooperation between the two countries, especially in the fields of energy, agriculture and water management, and added that she was working on bringing other Dutch companies to Serbia. Nevertheless, she added, the greatest potential for a mutually beneficial cooperation lies in the field of renewable energy resources. A good example of cooperation in this area is the biogas cogeneration plant in Botoš near Zrenjanin. “This is a project which is financially supported by the Dutch government, and developed by the Dutch company HOST, which is why we are very proud of it", she added. Renewable energy resources, especially wind farms, have a great potential, and Serbia is only in its infancy in this area. The Dutch experience can be of great importance here, given that Serbia has the košava wind that could be very bankable. There is, of course, bioenergy too. Considering how much maize, wheat and plant waste we have in Serbia, this segment should not be underestimated. Also, given the region's well-known beer consumption, transfer of technologies in this area has absolutely raised the standards of brewing in Serbia.

SIMILARITIES AND POTENTIAL Deputy Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Serbia, Ms. Mari-

WHAT NEXT? Serbia does not stand still, and at the same time while we are putting this ar-

Lowland Experience Can Serbia become the new Netherlands? C O O P E R AT I O N



ticle together, Serbia is being very active in the Netherlands. With the view of supporting and promoting export, the Development Agency of Serbia and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia organized the appearance of Serbian companies at the Serbian booth at the international brand trade fair, PLMA, held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 29th and 30th May 2018. At the fair, Serbia had a presentation in the Fair’s venue reserved for food products, at the country’s booth that spanned 108 square metres.

Renewable energy resources, especially wind farms, are a great potential, and Serbia is only in its infancy in this area. The Dutch experience can be of great importance here, given that Serbia has the košava wind that could be very bankable.





Enjoying Life A Cultural Guide to the Netherlands C U LT U R E

They recognize imperfections of life rather than hide it, and simply by saying “Het kan gebeuren” (it happens) they respond to unforeseen mishap isiting a chosen country for your vacation can be compared to entering fantasyland, especially when it comes to Holland. Once you enter the fresh Netherland air a mix of sights, sounds, and smells blend into a unique and eccentric way of life, that can be quite different from what you’re used to. The Dutch lifestyle is said to be modern and independent. Majorities believe in the equality for all, yet everyone truly focuses on individuality. They recognize imperfections of life rather than hide it, and simply by saying “Het kan



gebeuren” (it can happen) they respond to unforeseen mishap. Believe it or not avoiding moral panic and sensibly dealing with thorny social issues such as soft drugs, actually helped reduce the dark activity, creating a safer and more welcome environment for all. With having one of the lowest working hours in Europe, the Netherlands is famous for its excellent work-life balance. Indeed, the prospering freelance culture creates many entrepreneurs working from the kitchen tables or holding business meetings in cafes! The country’s open-minded community

makes it an ideal place for innovative ideas and new solution to existing issues. In 2016, the European Commission named Amsterdam the European Capital for Innovation as they have been making improvements in the quality of life. Yet another great life lesson the Dutch teach us is the healthy, cycling way of life. While so many cities suffer congested roads, traffic jams, and blowing transport systems, the Netherlands population hops on a bike and cycles to their destination. This transport system makes a great safety record for Holland compared to other countries in the EU. Why get a gym membership when you have your daily work out? Love is love. The Netherlands is proud to announce to be the first country to allow gay marriages in 2001. They stood at the forefront of the LGBT community and legalized lives of many. The so called “Canal Parades” are the best highlights of the Gay Parade where boats heave with costumed dancers and party-makers down Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht. Thousands of people go out on the streets dressed in colorful rainbow stripes to promote the universality of love. The Dutch do indeed draw a lot of attention to themselves threw their particular style and choices. It is a country of freedom, free speech, and great sights. After reading a quick guide to their life, who wouldn’t want to visit their extraordinary kingdom?




TulipLandia From a symbol of love to becoming the #1 Dutch export T R A DI T ION

ne of the first things that enters one’s mind when it comes to the Netherlands are indeed-tulips. The Dutch have hit a world record in 2017, of producing 2 billion tulips per year! When we think about it, that’s nearly a third of our planets population! But how did the Dutch generate this enormous machine in the world’s flower market? Tulip’s origin can be tracked back to the 16th, early 17th century, after merchants from the Ottoman Empire introduced this extraordinary flower to the Dutch. By tolerating the regions harsh climate conditions, the tulip in the mid 1500 became a very popular part of Holland. The country became the go-to spot for tulip growers, as well as the sellers of seeds and bulbs. At one point the so called “tulip-mania” hit the country as some species of tulips cost more than a house! Having tulips in your home’s garden was as impressive as having a Ferrari in your garage! Toward the mid 17th century, this flower became the 4 largest Dutch export, and it was around this time that


greenhouses began to appear in the region, multiplying the quantity made. An interesting fact is that tulips were later grown without soil using hydroponics, a nutrient enriched solution, this uses less heat and fewer sources, making the job of tulip production much easier every year. Another cool fact is that the greenhouses used for the plantation of these flowers, supply 10% of the country’s energy! The houses double as solar power generators, providing energy to the surroundings. The Dutch cultivate around 150 different tulip bulbs with over 3000 different varieties of tulips. They are available in many different colors however the blue doesn’t exist just yet! To intensify the love for tulips even further, Amsterdam, on the 3rd Saturday of every January celebrates the Na-

tional Tulip Day and that is the official launch of the tulip season! People gather on Dam Square and pick a gorgeous bouquet of tulips for free. More than 10,000 people traditionally come along to take their bouquet of flowers, the number adds up to nearly 200,000 colorful tulips collected each year. Today, Florca Westland, a Dutch flower company, specialized in buying, packing ad shipping of high-quality and fresh cut flowers exports over 750,000 kg of flowers to over 30 different countries in the world. 80 % of the worlds flower buds come from Holland. Each year the Netherlands sets the bar higher and higher, as they find ways to make the greenhouses more efficient, and along with it, create a growing contribution to an even greater sustainable planet.


RECORD The Dutch have hit a world record in 2017, of producing 2 billion tulips per year.





Fun Under the Dutch Sun Exploring Netherlands with the countries top-ranked attractions TOURISM

he Netherlands. A country of freedom, diversity, and without a doubt on the top of everyone’s goto holiday list. Although tourism plays a relatively small sector of the country’s economy, contributing 5.4% to the gross domestic product, in 2017 over 17 million tourists have visited this unique nation, making it the 20th most visited country in the world. Mostly, tourists come to the Netherlands to visit Amsterdam. Who wouldn’t want to get lost around the cities beautiful streets, cycle bikes, and eat healthy all day long? However, Holland has plenty to offer outside it’s capital. From pro-



tective dunes and sandy beaches to historic town centers the Dutch have numerous sights to be proud of. KINDERDIJK More than 1000 old windmills exist in the Netherlands, and its largest concentration of windmills can be found near the village of Kinderdijk. (Children’s dike). Holland is counted one of the lowest country’s in the world, as most of its villages are situated below sea level, in 1740 the fist 19 windmills were built to drain excess water from the polders. These antiques have been well preserved and are now, a very popular tourist attraction in the Netherlands.

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HOGE VELUWE What can be more refreshing than a walk on a beautiful day through the Hoge Veluwe National Park. The area is counted one of the largest continuous nature reserves in the country, consisting of woodlands, dunes, heathlands and many other sensations. The great Vincent van Gogh’s museum “Kröller-Müller” is located within the park, and displays a large collection of his paintings. To add onto the impressions, the entire area is car-free, meaning bikes are available for the visitors of the Hige Veluwe!


KEUKENOF GARDENS As we all dream of buying a bouquet of tulips once we step onto the Dutch ground, it is a must for every tourist to visit the one and only Keukenof Gardens. It is counted the largest Garden in the world, with over 7 billion flower bulbs planted annually! It is a great way for the Dutch to promote their pride of not only tulips, but also hyacinths, daffodils and many other spring flowers. As they are open only from March to mid May, the Keukenhof is one of the most visited tourist attractions of the spring!


UNIQUE In 2017 over 17 million tourists have visited this unique nation, making it the 20th most visited country in the world.

WEST FRISIAN ISLANDS Many don’t know that Holland is a mom to 3 little children in the North Sea. The Waddeneilanden in Dutch, are a chain of islands off the Dutch Coast. They separate the North Sea from the shallow Wadden Sea with tidal mud flats. An adventurous tourist attraction consists of walking on these mudflats during low tides in order to reach the islands by foot, being surrounded by beautiful nature fresh sea air. Obviously on the islands themselves, the favorite mean of transport is advised. Bikes!

The Netherlands 2018  
The Netherlands 2018