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Entrepreneurs, pack a suitcase. We're one of the best places to be a start-up.

The Netherlands is fourth-best place in Europe to locate a start-up, according to a new study by finance research and insight firm NimbleFins. That’s up six-points from last year’s score of tenth place, and only narrowly missing out on a podium spot to Germany, the UK and Switzerland.

We’re a small country, but the Netherlands is a great place for doing business. The TopDutch region draws in global businesses – from large, established multinationals all the way to the hottest new start-ups - as a result of our purpose-driven, people-powered ecosystems, our competitive financial and fiscal environment, and our green, digital and talented business culture.

What makes a great start-up environment?

The NimbleFins study focused on data from both general economic factors - such as growth rates and unemployment rate - and start-up specific factors like ease of access to finance capital and salary costs. The data itself was collated from a wide number of international organizations such as the World Bank, World Economic Forum, UNESCO, OECD and numerous tax consultancies.

The data was used to rank 31 European countries in the fields of: Economic health, costs of doing business, business climate and labor force quality. The Netherlands particularly excelled in economic health and business climate, gaining second-place after Ireland on the former.

One of the healthiest economies

The Netherlands took the silver medal in terms of overall economic health, taking into account traditional economic measures such as GDP, GDP per capita, GDP growth and unemployment rate. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Maintaining a prosperous and stable economy is a long-term hallmark of the Netherlands. The Dutch have had a long and rich history of international trading, which has led us to the healthy, open and stable economy we are today.

Added to that, we’re the world’s most connected country, offer excellent education on different levels, have one of the best healthcare systems in the world, rank second on the global innovation index, and have a well- and diversely- educated multilingual workforce. These are just some of the reasons innovative start-ups, scale-ups and established MNEs choose to locate in the TopDutch region. You can read more about the TopDutch economy here.

TopDutch’s start-up scene

The TopDutch region has also laid the foundations for some of the world’s most exciting tech start-ups and scale-ups. Take, for example, HackerOne – recently ranked number 5 in Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies – which was born in Groningen and now has branches across the world. Or Catawiki, who was Europe’s fastest-growing tech company when it scaled-up by 45000% in a year. Both of the companies are on their way to the exclusive ‘unicorn’ status.

The tight-knit business community and collaborative culture of the Northern Netherlands makes fertile ground for innovative start-ups across a wide range of industries. Well-established firms are always willing to give the youngsters a hand, and the presence of communities such as Campus Groningen – which houses both knowledge institutions and highly-specialized companies – makes the sharing of knowledge and skills all that easier.

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