Netherlands grows AI ambitions

Famed for its bulbs and windmills, Europe’s gateway nation aims to be the port for AI expansion.


The Netherlands is pitching itself as the intelligent choice for business technology leaders looking to develop artificial intelligence (AI) business applications. “AI can help with the big challenges of our time in health, resources and education,” says Maarten De Rijk, Professor of AI at the University of Amsterdam.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being positioned as the commercial opportunity that will see the Netherlands remain a physically small nation that is a big player in business. This is, after all, a country that pioneered globalisation with the Dutch East India Company, which was to be copied by empire-building European rivals and today is home to global giants such as oil firm Shell and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) maker Unilever. With a rich culture, the Netherlands has also given the world the artists Rembrandt and Van Gogh, as well as a rainbow of colour every spring with its Tulips and bulbs.

The Netherlands is already in a strong position as a major innovation hub for AI. German industrial conglomerate Bosch, the health arm of compatriots Siemens and IBM, have all invested in Dutch AI research divisions. With the Netherlands government investing in AI, major firms are attracted by the healthy economy, easy access to the European Union, the fact that the Netherlands is ranked as the world’s number one connected country and has a wealth of skilled talent and academic research. “Germany and the Netherlands share the vision that AI is a shared interest,” says Marloes Pomp of the European AI Forum of the collaboration between the two nations.

“We call the Netherlands the gateway to Europe and we pride ourselves on our international business climate, and we have a high quality of life, a low tax rate and a 30% tax allowance for employees,” says Lowri Van Der Linden of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency of why organisations are flocking to the nation famed for its windmills and mega ports. She adds that the Netherlands is ranked the number two global business destination, ahead of the USA, Singapore, Germany and the UK.

To attract AI focused organisations to the Netherlands, the investment agency is offering incentives connected to technology and sustainability and advice on forming public-private partnerships.

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