Areas of expertise
The Netherlands is the European home of 2100 North American firms and the list grows. That’s because the Netherlands’ strategic location, pro-business environment, tax laws and labor force make it easier to launch or expand your operation in Europe. Knowledge is also in good supply. North American food companies chose the Netherlands for their European headquarters, logistics, manufacturing, research and development, or marketing & sales operation. Learn more about these business solutions.
Starbucks established its European headquarters here based on the Netherlands’ pro-business environment, and worked closely with consultants from the NFIA throughout its location search process — obtaining instant answers on logistical, political and labor questions.
But your company doesn’t need to have the star power of Starbucks to benefit from a European headquarters in the Netherlands. Small and medium-sized businesses also have access to our highly skilled and well-educated Dutch workers, which are also Europe’s most multilingual. Your company can benefit from Holland’s highly competitive 25% corporate tax rate. Plus, according to KPMG’s 2010 Competitive Alternatives report, Class A office space in the Netherlands costs less (just $20.40/sq. ft.) than in the UK, France, Italy and Germany. Holland’s overall business costs are lower as well.
Dutch airports are top-rated by business travelers, and our other transport links are world-class. So too are our communications links, with the Netherlands ranked among the top ten “Most-Wired” countries worldwide. And our quality of life is, in a word, superb.
Year after year, the Netherlands government is cited as being among Europe’s most politically stable and business-friendly, accompanied by a straightforward regulatory climate and sophisticated financial system focused on best practices and lower risk. Not only Starbucks, but more than 400 other U.S. companies from Cisco Systems and Eastman Chemical, to Fedex and Office Depot, have made the Netherlands their European home. Consider making it yours. To learn which other companies are headquartered in the Netherlands, click here.
When you have mouths to feed, speed is everything. More than 170 million consumers live within a 300-mile radius of the Netherlands; 244 million are within 600 miles. Starbucks chose the Netherlands for its first roasting plant outside the U.S. in the 1990s. The reason? The Netherlands’ willingness to customize a complex distribution solution that met a variety of needs and helped speed distribution of Starbucks’ premium coffee beans across Europe. The Netherlands’ logistics and distribution infrastructure, long regarded as the best in Europe, is keenly focused on getting your goods to market faster, more accurately and more cost-efficiently than ever before.
Proof? Holland now has more distribution centers than all other European countries combined. The World Bank ranked Holland #4 worldwide for Logistics Performance in 2010. Rotterdam, Europe’s largest and busiest seaport, continues to expand its capabilities and offers the largest number of third-party logistics providers. Amsterdam is Europe’s fifth-largest port. And there are specialized ports such as Flushing, Terneuzen, Moerdijk and Groningen. Not surprisingly, more than half of all North American companies with European Logistics Centers have chosen to locate them in the Netherlands. Approximately 95% of Europe’s major markets can be reached within 24 hours by truck from Rotterdam or Amsterdam. The Netherlands also has four international airports, Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Maastricht Aachen and Schiphol — which is its most recognized — and is consistently ranked the best European airport for both passengers and cargo. At more than 1.2 million metric tons of cargo transported annually, Schiphol is Europe’s third-largest cargo airport.
Roads and highways are well maintained and there are no toll roads in the Netherlands. Rail freight connections are excellent, with nearly 2,000 miles of track and constant enhancements. For example, the Betuweroute is a state-of-the-art, 100-mile long, double-stack, double-track freight line designed to streamline rail traffic between Rotterdam, Germany and the rest of the EU, traveling at speeds up to 75 mph.
By every mode, Holland’s world-class logistics capabilities help move your products and people to their destinations quickly, reliably and safely. Its central location, combined with its superior logistics infrastructure, helps rank the Netherlands among the lowest-cost European countries for import and export.
To learn more about the distribution and transport infrastructure advantages of the Netherlands for your food operations, click here.
The list of food and beverage manufacturers in the Netherlands reads like a “Who’s Who” of industry leaders: Advanta, AVEBE, Aviko, Ben & Jerry’s, Cargill, Chiquita, Coca-Cola, ConAgra, Danone, Dawn, FrieslandCampina, Grolsch, Heineken, Heiploeg, Heinz, Iams, Mars, McCain, Monsanto, Nestle, Purina, Pepsico, Quaker, Sarah Lee, Smithfield and Unilever—just to name a few.
And while they manufacture a widely diverse array of food products, they’re all here for the same reasons. As a manufacturing location, the Netherlands has an excellent selection of industrial space in key locations, a high standard of education and worker training, employees with an excellent work ethic and high productivity relative to other EU nations, plus high levels of automation and efficiency in production processes. In short, you’ll find everything you need to make food products of better quality, faster and more cost-efficiently. The Netherlands workforce is a key strength of its manufacturing capabilities. Skilled, hardworking, motivated and very cooperative, it is the envy of Europe for efficiency and dedication. Dutch workers are also recognized for their flexibility and adaptability when faced with new challenges.
According to a recent study by KPMG, the Netherlands was ranked as one of the most cost competitive locations for food processing. In general, the costs for sourced materials and equipment doesn’t vary that much per location so the costs that have variation are labor, facilities, utitilies and tax. The Netherlands was shown overall to have the lowest cost index in Europe and one of the most competitive cost performances worldwide.
Of course, the faster you move what you manufacture, the more profitable your company. And the Netherlands’ logistics network is legendary for its ability to swiftly transport products to customers across Europe, by truck, train, plane or ship.
Dutch customs officials help speed that process through the use of computerized clearance and inspection systems to eliminate costly delays. Containers need no longer be opened, and you may now submit electronic declarations for imports and exports. The Iams Company, a world leader in premium pet foods and therapeutic nutrition, has a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Coevorden. According to plant manager Michael Bosbach, the decision to locate there was based on a number of factors.
“The area we found is very suitable for us in terms of the supply of raw materials (from dairy, vegetable and meat products, to sugar and starches) and in terms of logistics connections — the highways to Germany and the Netherlands.” Advantages like these are why more than 400 North American companies have manufacturing operations in the Netherlands. And why you should consider locating yours here, too. To learn more, click here.
Research & Development
Just as “Silicon Valley” is America’s knowledge cluster for information technology, “Food Valley” in the Netherlands is the epicenter of food knowledge and science for Europe. In fact, it is the largest cluster of food and nutrition R&D in the world. It is home to the renowned Wageningen University and Research Center, as well as TNO (the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) and NIZO food research.
Here too, is a dynamic concentration of food companies, start-ups and pilot plants. Each year, Holland’s academic institutions produce a plentiful supply of graduates with the precise R&D skills agro-food companies are looking for. Creative partnerships and collaboration between industry and academia are ongoing at all levels of the food chain — from enzymes and nutri-genomics research, to fermentation and food preservation, to issues of taste and the role of probiotics in the digestive process, to fighting global obesity.
Further, companies that locate in Food Valley can be helped in many ways, including answers to technology questions provided by our research institutes; partnership and networking opportunities via regular seminars; and innovation programs for applicable products, processes and materials. We can also suggest locations for incubators for start-ups, as well as assistance with pre-seed launching and intellectual property rights.
For more detailed information on research partnerships and initiatives, click on this website’s complete section regarding Research & Development.
Marketing & Sales
McCain Foods, the world’s largest producer of frozen potato products, maintains an extensive sales and marketing office in Hoofddorp. And while Holland’s particular climate and soil make it ideal for growing potatoes, its culture of international commerce is what makes it ideal for growing McCain’s potato business across Europe.
The Dutch are also among the most economically competitive societies in Europe. You’ll find talented sales and marketing professionals in good supply in the Netherlands, boasting excellent business skills, strong multilingual abilities (especially English) and reasonable salaries.
And whether office-bound or travel-bound, the Netherlands’ advanced telecommunications and transportation links help ensure they are in regular contact with your customers and prospects across Europe. Schiphol Airport is ranked Europe’s best for passenger transport, while Holland’s high-speed rail network is a model of efficiency and capacity, offering links from Amsterdam to Germany and Belgium, with continuing high-speed Euro Train service to other business capitals at speeds of up to 300 mph.
There is an excellent selection of available buildings in urban and suburban locations. And according to KPMG’s 2010 Competitive Alternatives report, Class A office space in the Netherlands costs less (just $20.40/sq. ft.) than in the UK, France, Italy and Germany. What’s more, overall business costs are lower in the Netherlands than they are in the UK, Germany, France and Italy. And distributing what you sell from the Netherlands could not be easier. As the “Gateway to Europe,” Holland puts you within reach of 170 million customers within a 300-mile radius. To learn more about the Netherlands’ advantages for your marketing and sales operation, click here.