IT powerhouse found Europe's best business climate in Amsterdam

A member of the S&P 500, the NASDAQ 100 and the Fortune e-50, California-based NetApp is one of the world’s leading providers of network storage solutions. Founded in 1992, the company went public in 1995 and established its first European office in Paris and quickly expanded to Germany, U.K., and other markets.

Currently, the company has operations throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), which employ 1500 people in more than 30 different countries and account for more than a third of the company’s business worldwide.

Early on, the Netherlands was a leading candidate for its EMEA headquarters, according to Fritz Meijaard, CFO for EMEA and General Manager for the headquarters office. Initially, the company set up a service and support center at a high-technology office park near Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to serve the EMEA market and has since centralized nearly all headquarters operations there.

A variety of factors influenced the decision to bring all of these functions to the Netherlands: access to markets, close proximity to customers, infrastructure and workforce quality. The Netherlands’ favorable tax structure and relative lack of bureaucratic red tape was also critical—in particular, the ability to offer skilled foreign workers a 30 percent savings on income tax. In addition, Amsterdam’s relatively low cost of living and its cultural amenities help NetApp attract top employees.

“Compared with other potential European headquarters sites, the Dutch business environment is very attractive,” said Meijaard. “It has allowed us to develop an efficient organization with centralized processes and centralized programs for the entire EMEA region.

“We do business in many locations throughout Europe,” he added. “And the overall environment here is the best we’ve found.”

March 2010

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