8 Factors to Consider When Expanding to Europe
With more than a dozen different countries and languages in Europe, it can be difficult to navigate the search process of finding a new European location for your company.
Offering a competitive fiscal climate, world-class talent, superior infrastructure and a quality living environment, the Netherlands may be your best bet for entering the European market. But don’t take our word for it—KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives Survey 2014 ranks the Netherlands as the “No. 1 Most Attractive Country in Western Europe for Foreign Companies.”
Here are eight important factors to consider before making your expansion:
- Global Access—Not all European locations are created—or located—equally. Located strategically on the continent, the Netherlands is in the center of the three largest economies in Europe—Germany, the UK and France. This position gives companies in the Netherlands easy access to Europe’s 500 million consumers. Perhaps that’s why the Netherlands is dubbed the “Gateway to Europe.”
- World-Class Infrastructure—An outstanding transportation infrastructure is essential for your company to move people and products with ease. Ranked No. 2 in the world for overall logistics performance, the Netherlands offers world-class seaports, highly connected airports and an extensive, modern network of roads and railways. In fact, the Netherlands is home to more European distribution centers than all of its European competitors combined. Companies with logistics and distribution operations in the Netherlands include Coca-Cola, Tommy Hilfiger, UPS, HP and IBM.
- The Right Talent—Your company’s success in Europe hinges on a quality workforce that speaks your language—literally. In the Netherlands, 90% of the population speaks English and many are multilingual. You’ll find no language barriers here. Plus, the Dutch higher education system is ranked seventh in the world—so you can be confident that you will find plenty of quality candidates with the skills necessary to meet your business demands. Home to nearly 50 universities and a variety of specialized training facilities, the Netherlands has one of the top 10 education systems in the world. Among the Netherlands’ higher education institutions are Delft University of Technology—a top 20 university for engineering and technology, and the Technical University of Eindhoven—considered the third most influential for scientific research in Europe.
- An Inclination for Innovation—Choose a location known for producing cutting-edge products. Inventors of Wi-Fi, the microscope, and more, the Dutch have a long history of creativity and innovation. Many Dutch companies, like KLM and Philips, also practice “open innovation”—opening up their company’s walls to collaborate with others within their industries on new technology and solutions. The Netherlands also offers tax incentives specifically geared to support R&D innovation.
- In Good Company—Get to know the surrounding business community. In the Netherlands, you’ll find a diverse group of Fortune 500 companies like Cisco, Heinz, Nike, Boeing, Intel, Amgen and more, right alongside a number of small to mid-sized businesses and creative start-ups. Equally diverse are the business operations that foreign companies locate in the Netherlands, such as European headquarters, marketing and sales, logistics and distribution, manufacturing, R&D and more.
- Simple and Speedy Connectivity—The last thing you want to run into abroad is weak Internet connections. With the highest broadband penetration per capita in the world, the Netherlands happens to be considered Europe’s most wired country. The Netherlands offers a 100% digital community network that ranks among the world’s best for quality, speed and reliability.
- Business-Friendly Environment— Look for a location that makes setting up shop easy from start to finish. When it comes to international tax rules, the Netherlands ranks No. 1, according to the Tax Foundation. The Netherlands has one of the most competitive income tax rates in Europe—20% on the first $227,737 and 25% for taxable profits exceeding $227,737. A wide tax treaty network, special benefits for highly skilled expats and clarity and certainty in advance of future tax positions, are just a few features that make it easy for expanding companies.
- Unbeatable Livability—Should you visit Holland, you’ll soon understand why the Netherlands is consistently ranked among the happiest nations in the world. Across the Netherlands, people can enjoy an internationally recognized music scene, take advantage of thriving arts and culture, and access farm-to-fork fresh food. No matter what you are looking for in the Netherlands, you can enjoy it all on two wheels. With 22,000 miles of cycle paths, there are more bicycles than people in the Netherlands.
If you do plan to visit the Netherlands anytime soon, we urge to you contact the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) to make the most out of your trip. The NFIA is a one-stop shop for investing in the Netherlands—connecting you to companies, in addition to offering free, confidential services to better plan your relocation. The NFIA can also assist by advocating on your company’s behalf with national and EU governments in order to streamline your company’s establishment and/or expansion in the Netherlands.
Over the years, the NFIA has supported thousands of companies from all over the world, including Dow, Danone, Fujifilm, Huawei, LG Electronics and more, to successfully establish their business in the Netherlands. Want to join the Netherlands’ thriving business community? We stand at the ready to assist.