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International News From the Field: Europe

This week, we focus on the Netherlands, the seventh largest economy of Europe and fifth within the European Union (EU), a small country with a large economy. Its GDP is over $1 trillion. Famous as a food and plant exporter ...
Aug 24, 2021

This week, we focus on the Netherlands, the seventh largest economy of Europe and fifth within the European Union (EU), a small country with a large economy. Its GDP is over $1 trillion. Famous as a food and plant exporter, it also has a diversified and rapidly growing manufacturing sector. For more industry intel and other tidbits, read on. 

  • The Netherlands has been recovering well in 2021, despite the inevitable bottlenecks in raw materials and components. The country’s GDP is expected to grow more than 3% this year. The governmental debt-to-GDP ratio is low at 54.5%. Machinery, electronics and high-tech, metalworking, oil refining, chemicals, and food processing lead the industrial sector. Manufacturing PMI is at an impressive 67.4.

  • To help the post-pandemic recovery, the Dutch government, through the National Growth Fund, has been injecting multi-billions into projects designed to boost economic growth. Among these are the extension of the Amsterdam metro and other public transport (including self-driving vehicles), a wide introduction of artificial intelligence, greening the Dutch economy, and numerous educational programs. All lead to either an increase in productivity or to the creation of new businesses.

  • Among the top companies in Dutch manufacturing, somewhat surprisingly, are automotive components and parts suppliers. The auto groups are also present and the often-talked-about automotive newcomer Stellantis has its headquarters in Amsterdam. 

  • The drive toward electric vehicles (EV) continues, and the Netherlands has an ambition to position itself as a leader in the production of trucks. Hyzon Motors, in cooperation with Holthousen Clean Technology, will be offering commercial EV models that meet European standards within the coming months as the region moves to discontinue diesel engines.

  • The Netherlands has also been able to attract top investors in the high-tech industry. Nearly $2.5 billion is invested annually in the nation’s research and development. This is considered a tradition, as the nation boasts the invention of the microscope, the Variomatic gearbox, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. Philips and Bosch have traditionally invested in the country, and Apple and Samsung have joined more recently. Boeing, Bombardier, Lockheed, and GE Aviation have invested in the European Space Research and Technology Centre located in the western part of the country.

  • The Netherlands is home to some of the most innovative bicycle manufacturers in the world, with nine companies manufacturing them. Dutch bicycles have a reputation for being durable, as it is a nation where most are parked outdoors year-round. It is a multimillion-dollar retail business with half a million units sold each year.

  • Eurozone (countries of the EU with the euro as currency) businesses reported their fastest expansion in more than two decades in July, according to an IHS Markit survey of purchasing managers published in July. Sharp expansions were reported across consumer, intermediate, and investment goods makers, the last of which posted the fastest upturn of the three. Eurozone manufacturers also continued to have an optimistic outlook for the next 12 months, in line with the global economic recovery.

  • The quest for urban air mobility continues. Recent announcements refer to flying cars. The AirCar, with a BMW engine from AeroMobil Co. in Slovakia, has completed more than 40 hours of test flights and will be available for purchase in 2023.

For more information, please contact Hubert Sawicki at hsawicki@AMTonline.org.

Hubert Sawicki
Head of AMT European Office
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