A publication of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency | December 2013 | UK & Ireland Edition
From strength to strength
Source: Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions
“The key to the future of any country or institution lies in the talents, skills and capabilities of its people.” according to Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Extensive research has cited human capital – a nation’s ability to make the most of the skills and capabilities of its people – as one of the most important determinants of long term economic success. It is crucial to meeting challenges such as increasing productivity, combatting youth unemployment, reducing skills and talent shortages, and caring for an ageing population. The newly published WEF’s Human Capital Index 2013, measures countries on their ability to develop and deploy healthy, educated, able and motivated people. The Netherlands put in a strong performance with the Dutch workforce ranking 4th overall. The WEF recognised the country’s stimulating work environment, through its attractive knowledge clusters, good
labour conditions and supporting infrastructure. Right working philosophy With a highly productive and dependable workforce, the Dutch have shown many foreign companies their pragmatic and pro-active approach which is instrumental to their success in mainland Europe. Peter Struik, President of Fujifilm Manufacturing Europe B.V., believes this approach to be of paramount importance alongside the availability of well-educated personnel: “Tilburg lies within the heart of an industrial region which makes it easier to find employees with the right education and experience. Generally speaking, Dutch employees also have the right working philosophy.” Skills widely recognised Dutch employees are among the most multilingually talented in the world. continued on page 2
From strength to strength
Rolling out the Orange Carpet
Healthy & Happy workforce Once again the Netherlands shows its world-class quality of life by ranking the 4th happiest country in the world. “The top five countries are Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Sweden,” according to the United Nations. The survey ranks 156 countries on factors such as healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, gross national product and social support networks. The UN concluded that the Netherlands enjoys a high degree of equality in the distribution of happiness across the population - so giving a high level of life satisfaction overall. Other major economies included in the survey were the US (17), the UK (22), Germany (26), Japan (43), Russia (68) and China (93). Source: UN World Happiness Report 2013.
Some 90% of the Dutch claim to speak fluent English, the highest percentage in Europe. Many also speak French and German. This allows the Dutch to serve customers throughout Europe and beyond. “Since we’re working across the borders of multiple countries, we have a great need for language skills,” says Frans van Eck, Senior Director of Marketing EMEA at Blackboard. “It’s easier to find prospective employees with international experience as well as language skills. Many of our employees here are natives of the different countries we work with. The OECD also highlighted the excellent skills set available in the Netherlands. In its most recent Adult Skills Survey, measuring workplace skills across 24 countries, the Netherlands maintains its top 5 position. The survey states there is clear evidence that skills such as literacy, numeracy, analysing information, and problem solving improve employment prospects and quality of life, as well as boosting economic growth. According to the OECD, the Dutch workforce has these skills in spades.
Source: Nuffic / Arenda Oomen
From strength to strength | page 2
Technical studies more popular In addition, the Dutch government acknowledges the growing demand for technical skills in many industries. Product innovation and scientific research will drive economic growth in the Netherlands. An initiative introduced in May 2013 - the Techniekpact - will result in even more skilled technical talent in the future. The Dutch government and companies established in the Netherlands have committed a €400 million investment in the inititiative. Universities, vocational schools, companies, governments, students and employees together will actively promote technical careers and technical education. As a first result, most technical universities have found a 20% increase in student applications in September this year. The Dutch government invites foreign companies based in the Netherlands to join in by offering work placements or providing guest speakers at schools and so reap the benefits of the availability of technical talent.
Literacy Adults 16-24
3. South Korea
3. The Netherlands
4. The Netherlands
5. Australia Numeracy
1. The Netherlands
4. The Netherlands
5. South Korea
Source: OECD Adult Skills Survey 2013
Rolling out the Orange Carpet the Netherlands for (future) work related purposes. Simple and quick Janneke Pulleman, Head of the visa department at the Dutch Embassy in London, outlines our businessfriendly Orange Carpet welcome for professionals visiting the Netherlands: “The Orange Carpet Visa Facility (OCVF) simplifies the visa application process for regular business travellers to the Netherlands,” says Janneke. “Once a company has registered for the Orange Carpet facility, it is quicker and more convenient for their employees to apply for visas. The facility is particularly useful for companies with employees who need to travel regularly to the Netherlands for work and normally need a visa to enter Schengen.” Commercialy minded as ever, the Netherlands is generally very easy to travel from work and mostly without any visa requirements. To ensure a smooth process for business travellers who are in need of a visa, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands offers the Orange Carpet Visa Facility. This facility is a special fast track visa application programme for employees that frequently travel to
The application process becomes much easier. “For example,” Janneke continues, “employees of a registered company do not have to come to the Embassy in person or make an appointment; they could send a representative of the company with their visa application. They do not need to supply documents such as flight tickets, hotel reservations, insurance or proof of financial means. The Embassy’s visa department is open from 9-10am on most working
days and can normally issue a longterm, multiple entry visa either the same or the next day.” Eligibility for the OCVF facility The visa department of the Embassy will need to do an eligibility assessment for NFIA corporate contacts. Your company is eligible if it is an overseas branch of a Dutch company, a parent company of a subsidiary in the Netherlands or foreign companies (with existing or future long-term business relationships or stakes in the Netherlands). Close Collaboration The OCVF is available in most countries requiring a visa when travelling to the Netherlands. The NFIA offices and visa department of all Embassies worldwide work closely together to ensure the swiftest service possible for business travellers with a specific interest in the Netherlands. Please note, the OCVF is designed to meet the needs of frequent business travellers and so does not cover stays of more than 90 days. For longer stays, you would need to apply to the Immigration and Naturalisation Services (IND) of the Ministry of Justice in The Netherlands for a permit for provisional sojourn (MVV).
How it works - 4 simple steps: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Contact the NFIA or the visa department in London for an eligibility assessment When eligible, your company will receive a registration form that needs to be signed by the MD or CEO of the company Once approved, the company will receive a confirmation letter with a dedicated OCVF number Employees of the company can now apply for visas under the fast-track of Orange Carpet Visa Facility
The NFIA office and the Visa Department in London are happy to help arrange an OCVF eligibility assessment or provide any information. Please call us on +44 207 59 03 286 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (NFIA) or LON-VZ@minbuza.nl (visa department) with the details of your company and your current or proposed activities in the Netherlands.
Rolling out the Orange Carpet | page 3
Wipro Technologies is a global IT, consulting and outsourcing company with headquarters in India. Its 145,000 employees serve over 900 clients in 57 countries across the world. They help Wipro’s clients do better business by leveraging their wide industry experience and deep technology expertise. “In 2012, we signed a multi-year agreement with a large company in Brabant,” explains Timo Fine, Wipro’s Director of Strategic Accounts, Peripherals and Consumer Electronics, Europe. “As a result of this strategic partnership, we set up a new IT Services Centre at the Eindhoven High Tech Campus in Brabant.”
iForce is a UK-based logistics specialist working with major retailers such as John Lewis, Cath Kidston, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. “Our business is focussed on two niche logistics services,” explains Geoff Taylor, iForce Director of International. “The first is e-fulfilment direct to our clients’ online customers and the second is returns processing. In the UK, we have 1.2 million sq ft of warehouse space across seven locations and we employ around 600 people; although that can rise to more like 2,500 at peak times such as Christmas.” It is this second service – the returns processing – that is the focus of the first phase of iForce’s international expansion to the Netherlands. “We’re providing a new, innovative service for Eu-
Testimonials | page 4
The South East of the province of Brabant is widely recognised as a centre of innovation across a variety of sectors, including high tech, automotive and semiconductor industries. As a result, it is now known as the ‘Brainport’ of the Netherlands. This innovative culture, along with its strategic location between Rotterdam and the major European markets, has helped to foster a thriving multi-national business community, which hosts 1,400 foreign companies employing 90,000 people. “Indeed, it was Eindhoven’s High Tech Campus and the potential for business growth that particularly attracted Wipro,” continues Timo. “There is a highlyeducated talent pool here, an excellent infrastructure and thriving networks of subcontractors, service providers and R&D expertise. This all makes doing business so much easier.”
ropean retailers, as well as extending our service to UK clients,” says Geoff. “Many UK retailers now ship internationally but find processing returns is time consuming and expensive – that’s where we help out.” “We chose the Netherlands partly because we already had a close relationship with our joint venture partner near Arnhem, which is a great location from a logistics point of view. But also because our research concluded that the Dutch business environment is competitive and flexible, with financial incentives that make the Netherlands a very appealing location.” Geoff has also been very impressed with the ease of doing business in the Netherlands. “The whole process has been much smoother than I had expected. I have not experienced any barriers whatsoever – not on the legal, financial or cultural side. I’m currently based in the Netherlands three days a week and everyone
“We also feel that this highly innovative region is perfect for our employees. We have over 200 people in the Netherlands and the facilities for expatriates, such as housing and international schooling, are very useful. Dutch society is also multilingual and that is very important to us. And, our employees all say the High Tech Campus is a well-equipped and vibrant working environment.” Wipro worked closely with Brabant Foreign Investments (BOM) and the NFIA to set up their new service centre. “These relationships were key to our success,” says Timo. “The NFIA and BOM were very pro-active when it came to linking us with local institutions, business leads, potential partners, employees, and networking opportunities. In particular, the NFIA’s support with the Orange Carpet Visa Facility <see page 3> for our Indian employees has been invaluable.” www.wipro.com has been accommodating and helpful.” “We all know that the Dutch speak extremely good English but I’ve found that we are also very similar culturally. For example, we are working with an excellent Dutch marketing company (Aandagt Reclame) and they have been able to pick up and develop our sales proposition very quickly. We just relate to each other so well.” “We feel very confident about our new venture. The BV is set up, our warehouse is ready and we’ve already had some interesting conversations with a number of Dutch retailers. We’ve worked closely with the NFIA and OOST NV; they have such a professional, commercial approach and their support has been invaluable. I hope we’ll continue to work together as we build our business in the Netherlands.” www.iforcegroup.nl
NFIA News Double amount of jobs created in first half of 2013
Director’s Cut The end of 2013 is near and, without disclosing final results, it has been a very good year for the NFIA UK & Ireland and the NFIA in general. Next to these results, the Dutch economy sparkled healthy growth again and I believe the foreign investors in the Netherlands have contributed to that! More in our next newsletter.
Source: Visit Heerema & RDM
The Dutch economy has benefited from a healthy €827 million of foreign direct investments during the first six months of 2013. Together, these investments will help create 4,332 extra jobs. Henk Kamp, Minister of Economic Affairs, announced the figures – more than double in comparison with the same period in 2012 – at the recent opening in Utrecht of the Nutricia Research Centre (which is operated by the Medical Division of the French company Danone). “These investments are good for the Dutch economy, bringing in income and creating jobs. This proves that, with a highly educated labour force and good facilities, the Netherlands remains an attractive country for foreign companies. Danone, for example, chose the Netherlands because we have a wealth
NFIA News | page 5
of innovation knowledge. Twelve of the world’s biggest agri-food companies now have research centres in the Netherlands. And, Wageningen University is world renowned for its food research.” “Which is not to say we cannot do better. We can and we will, and the Dutch government is committed to boosting our economy, for example by investing in our nine most excellent industries, and by increasing the attractiveness of our investment climate,” says Mr Henk Kamp, Minister of Economic Affairs. The NFIA, along with its partner organisations across the Netherlands, plays an active role in helping and advising a wide range of foreign companies who want to establish or expand their international business activities in the Netherlands.
2014 will be a year of new opportunities. We will continue to provide our customised service to potential investors. We are convinced the Netherlands is the best and most competitive continental location for your potential future operation, whether it is a European Head office, R&D centre, European Distribution Centre or even a manufacturing operation. We will have a continuing focus on our current investors. These are the foreign companies which make the Dutch economy strong and contribute to growth. We are proud of them, want to help them grow further or overcome challenges that they might face with their Dutch activities. The first months in 2014 will be busy with events and visits to Ireland and UK regions. We are always available for a meeting at your office to discuss any (further) expansion plans into continental Europe.
Key Sectors Go Online
UK-based cart recovery and remarketing software company Ve Interactive opened a new office in Amsterdam to support clients in their own time zone.
Holland’s location and well-organised public-private partnerships offer a favourable environment to any Agri-Food or Chemical company looking to expand their business into continental Europe. You will now find all Agri-Food and Chemical industry information on newly developed industry pages on www.nfia.co.uk. They are bursting with:
Datacentre provider Digital Reality announced a new datacentre in Amsterdam. Bernard Geoghegan, MD EMEA, said: “Amsterdam is ideally located at the heart of the demand we are seeing for today’s networked data centre requirements across Europe.”
• • • •
NuSil Technology created a new European warehouse in Rotterdam together with logistics service provider Expeditors International. The new warehouse will receive silicone products from the US and ship directly into Europe.
Captivating testimonials Key advantages for your Agri-Food or Chemicals company Relevant links Contact details of industry experts
Season’s Greetings The NFIA wishes you a wonderful 2014
US company Acro Associates, set up its European office in Almelo. With the large number of high tech companies in the Twente region, it is ideal for researching and developing their advanced integrated valves for medical devices and biotechnology. Singapore-based eG Innovations, opened their newest European office in the Hague. This office will focus on expanding their customer base in continental Europe. India-based Infosys BPO expanded further into the Netherlands with a new delivery centre in Eindhoven. Gautam Thakkar, CEO and MD Infosys BPO states: “The new centre will serve as a regional hub for Infosys BPO. The availability of a talented workforce and a positive environment fostered by the government makes the Netherlands an attractive destination for us.”
Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) is a division of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs which has been established with the objective of providing assistance and information to companies interested in setting-up, expanding or restructuring their pan-European operations in the Netherlands. The NFIA is here to assist you at every stage and with every aspect of your strategic decision making, by offering a combination of information, advice and practical help in strict confidence, without any obligation. Contact us today or visit our website www.nfia.co.uk for more detailed information on how we can take care of your business. While information in this newsletter has been compiled from reliable sources, the Government of the Netherlands takes no legal responsibility for any of the statements made. Articles in this newsletter may only be reproduced with permission of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency.
Editorial: Wendy Sayer
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