High-Tech, the largest of the nine “Top sectors” identified by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs government’s, saw its production volume decline by 1.5% in 2013, while that of neighboring countries increased - Belgium’s by 15% - according to a Euler Hermes report (High Tech in the Netherlands: a gem at the heart of Europe.)
The decline was notably due to the overexposure of Dutch exports to intra-EU trade. However, the sector outlook for 2014 is more favorable.
“In the Netherlands, the proportion of the high- tech sector’s output that is exported to the euro zone is greater than in Germany, France or Belgium for example,” said Didier Moizo, Sector Advisor at Euler Hermes. “As a result, the sector suffered the most the lasting effects of the crisis.”
The sector accounts for 11% of total Dutch exports, nearly one third of expenditure on innovation, and employs half a million people. The developments are therefore significant for the Netherlands’ economic growth. “The high-tech sector will benefit from the improvement of the economic environment. When the economy contracts, the dips in the sector are deeper, but in a recovery the peaks are higher,” said Walter Toemen, Risk Director at Euler Hermes Nederland.
From an international perspective, the high-tech sector is well positioned. The Netherlands are ranked in the fourth place in the 2013 World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index. This index measures the propensity for countries to exploit the opportunities offered by information technology and communication.
“For years now, the development of Brainport Eindhoven has been an international example of how companies, research institutes and governments can best cooperate and help a region to progress,” added Toemen. “Some three billion euros are invested each year in Eindhoven in research and development. In times of economic recovery this pays off.”