With over 1,000 foreign companies, learn why Utrecht is one of Europe’s most competitive regions, and why it may be time your organization sets up shop.
Utrecht is the fourth largest city in The Netherlands, and despite having a population of around 352,000, it is relatively compact. The Utrecht Region is home to over 1.2 million inhabitants. The entire city can be easily navigated by foot. Canals run throughout the city, but unlike other canal cities, it has built-in wharves that offer dining and drinking at water level.
TivoliVredenburg; photo credit: Juri Hiensch
It is a unique city that draws workers, tourists, and enterprises alike. In 2017, the European Commission designated Utrecht as the most competitive EU region, because of the combination of companies, institutions, government and citizens that foster a healthy, innovative community.
The young, talented workforce in Utrecht comprises part of the reason why enterprises increasingly want to open in the region. The city’s goal to create a sustainable community offers several benefits. To achieve the distinction of the most competitive region, Utrecht’s population had to work together in a collaborative approach to drive innovation, education, and sustainability.
The Economic Board of Utrecht (EBU) began with the purpose of fostering business relationships between companies, government, and educational institutions to stimulate improvements in the population. The EBU focused on three themes: building a green economy, encouraging healthy living, and cross-industry service innovation. Utrecht region is at the heart of the Netherlands’ ICT (Information and Communication Technology) industry and is particularly strong in software and services such as the development, distribution, and implementation of application. Life Sciences and Health are also key sectors in the city.
In fact, The Netherlands contains the world’s most concentrated cluster of life sciences and health companies, with Utrecht as the beating heart of the sector. The region’s health and life sciences industry consists of the esteemed Utrecht Science Park — a 300-hectare research, education, and business campus and hosts a unique collection of academic and business players.
Additionally, Utrecht city is home to Dutch Game Garden and several important serious gaming companies and gaming and virtual reality have a particularly large role in the region’s ICT development. The Internet of Things, cloud computing and Fintech are also key in the region.
To spark innovation, a variety of tech hubs and incubators opened, such as UtrechtInc. These outlets provide resources for startups, researchers, and students as they generate the next generation of ideas. Utrecht is also considered “world-leading in regenerative medicine and 3D-bioprinting, stem cells and urban mobility.”
Hubrecht Institute, photo credit: Jurjen Drenth
Further, settling in The Netherlands as an international company comes with several incentives. The area has a low corporate tax rate (25%), several R&D activity incentive programs, and advanced tax rulings including a 30% ruling for expats.
Among the many enterprises with workspace in the region: Capgemini, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Hitachi Power Tools, Nintendo, Mitsubishi Electric, Ubisoft, Danone, Toshiba, Symantec, Oracle, Nexus, VodafoneZiggo.
It’s the People: A Competitive, Pioneering Workforce
Utrecht offers a healthy and sustainable growth climate for enterprises — and one of the prime reasons is the pool of human resources. The statistics on the workforce for Utrecht prove that it is a strong place for enterprises who want educated and talented employees:
- 46% of its workforce has a University degree, making it the most-educated workforce in the country
- Over 60,000 international, talented workers
- 91% speak one foreign language; 77% speak two foreign languages
- Over 8 million skilled employees live within an hour’s travel of Utrecht
Though Utrecht is a small town, it draws on the surrounding area to deliver workers in all industries.
The seemingly bottomless pool of talent is also due in part to the universities in the region. The Netherlands’ top university, Utrecht University, is the best and largest research institution in the country and is ranked number 14 in Europe and number 51 in the world. It has delivered 12 Nobel Prize winners to date.
The flourishing “knowledge economy,” provides startups, research facilities, and other companies that settle in Utrecht with employees that want to continue learning and improving their lives and the lives of the people around them. It is this passion for evolution and knowledge expansion that makes the workforce of Utrecht one of the best with which to work
Get Connected: Your Gateway to Europe and the World
Utrecht is central to many larger cities from which it can draw on an even larger workforce. It sits only 27 minutes by train from Amsterdam (where Schiphol International Airport links to 323 destinations) and 37 minutes from Rotterdam. The largest train station in the country is situated in Utrecht, with over 88 million passengers annually, and provides services around Europe to all major cities. International cities such as Frankfurt and Paris can be reached by train within 3.5 hours.
Further, the city’s 500-kilometer radius encompasses more than 170 million consumers, constituting a vibrant and lucrative market. Utrecht’s inland port easily connects with Rotterdam’s world-class seaport.
Utrecht Region will continue to attract multinational enterprises, due to its favorability across the following parameters: young, educated workforce, centrally-connected location, culture and infrastructure supportive of innovation, and exceptional quality of life. Its designation as an EU top competitive region is well-deserved, and multinationals looking both either to set up innovation hubs or to expand regionally, should take note. From prestigious inner-city mansions to modern industrial towers, to flexible office spaces, plentiful workspace exists to welcome in a new wave of enterprises to the region.
To learn more about Mindspace or to book a tour of Mindspace Utrecht, visit us at Nicolaas Beetsstraat 216–222, Utrecht, or click.