Foreign investment in the Netherlands stabilized in 2021

The Invest in Holland network, and the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), which represents the national government as a partner, were involved in 423 investment projects by foreign companies in 2021. This includes both new and expansion invest­­ments into the country, and brings the number of companies opting for the Netherlands back to 2019 levels, showing a stabilization of business investment since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 423 projects are expected to create nearly 13,400 direct jobs and an investment value of EUR 2.3 billion in the first three years. In 2020, the number was substantially lower as COVID-19 led to foreign companies postponing or changing investment decisions.

A growing number of these companies strengthen regional ecosystems and actively contribute to the Netherlands’ social and economic goals, relating to innovation, digitalization and sustainability.

Micky Adriaansens, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, and responsible for NFIA, emphasizes the importance of foreign businesses for the Netherlands: “Businesses and entrepreneurs are indispensable to the Netherlands. Foreign companies also make an important contribution to our economy. For example, they account for 30% of the total private expenditure on research and development in the Netherlands. Commissioned by the cabinet, NFIA has since 2020 been focusing more on attracting high-quality business activities related to innovation, digitalization and sustainability. I am pleased that the annual figures are showing the first results of this focus.”

Hilde van der Meer, NFIA Commissioner and Chairman of the Invest in Holland network: “The Netherlands is committed to finding sustainable, innovative and digital solutions to global challenges. That is why Invest in Holland is keen to welcome and assist foreign companies that contribute to this goal and strengthen our international ecosystems. Our country offers an excellent business climate for scaling up solutions with impact for the European and global market.”

Investing in the future together

Since 2020, NFIA and the Invest in Holland network have proactively focused on attracting companies that accelerate sustainability, provide new digital applications or enable future innovations. In 2021, there were already several examples of this new focus.

American company Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) started the construction of its first European CAR T-cell therapy facility in Leiden in 2021. In this manufacturing center, BMS develops personalized therapies for patients with blood cancer, and contributes to the growth of the Netherlands’ leading role in the field of CAR T-cell therapy.

The Scottish company ENOUGH started building a factory that produces alternative proteins in 2021. The factory in Sas van Gent produces circular raw materials from residual products that come from the nearby Cargill facility. ENOUGH also leads a European research consortium into alternative proteins, in which Wageningen University & Research participates as well.

U.S. and India based Quantiphi announced last year that it was opening a new service delivery center in Amsterdam. From this strategic European location, Quantiphi helps to streamline healthcare, education and public sector processes through AI, cloud and data solutions. The company aims to grow its presence in the Netherlands, including further developing their R&D together with Dutch engineers.

Increasing share of companies from Europe

Of the 423 foreign companies that chose the Netherlands in 2021, a third came from Europe (32%), a third from North and South America (30%), and a third from Asia (30%). The share of European companies was larger in 2021 than in previous years.

This growth is largely due to an increased number of companies impacted by Brexit that decided to establish presence in the Netherlands last year. Since the referendum in 2016, 316 Brexit companies (companies that have experienced disruption due to Brexit) have chosen the Netherlands. The activities of these companies in the Netherlands are expected to generate almost 8,000 jobs and EUR 782 million in investments in the first three years.