Binnenhof The Hague Source Hans Kouwenhoven (HTK 2013)
  • Internationalizing

"Most important of all are the personal contacts."

Soraya Ludema has been temporarily seconded to the NFIA in The Hague. A great opportunity to ask her what the NFIA's work entails, what the collaboration with NOM looks like, and whether she likes it too. We call.

First, tell us exactly what you do at NOM

As project manager NOM foreign direct investments, I am responsible for attracting foreign companies to the northern Netherlands. In addition, I am an investor relations coordinator. From IR, we maintain contact with the companies already in our region. We want to know how the companies that have settled here are doing and what they are up against. Bringing companies here is one thing, but after that, of course, they have to be happy. For the acquisition of foreign companies, we work closely with the NFIA, Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency. And I've been working there for several months now. To replace someone on maternity leave, the regional partners, including NOM, were approached to see if there was interest. Well there was. From me.

What does the NFIA do?

As part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the NFIA handles the international promotion of the Netherlands. They also help and advise companies interested in expanding or relocating their operations. The headquarters is in The Hague and there are outside offices in several countries worldwide.

How does the NFIA work?

The NFIA actively engages in acquisition by visiting companies, going to network meetings and attending foreign trade fairs. If an outside office picks up signals from companies orienting themselves they present The Netherlands and The Hague is contacted. From here we present the attractive business climate of the Netherlands. We organize fact finding missions, arrange meetings with relevant partners, advise on tax, government, labor and permit procedures and locations. Once a company's interest has been piqued, it is up to the regions to present themselves. The NFIA is an important partner for NOM with whom we work intensively.

What do we profile ourselves with in the Northern Netherlands?

With our regional cooperation and top sectors. Those are data centers, green chemistry/chemical industries, water technology, agrifood and biobased economy, life sciences and health, and offshore wind. But surely there are more regions that profile themselves in one or more of the same sectors?

Sure. Agrifood, for example. That is why it is so important that we as Dutch regions make use of each other's qualities and not compete with each other.To make it easier for foreign companies to get in touch with the right parties, the NFIA has established the Invest in Holland network. In it, the NFIA, regional development companies and several major cities work closely together. From recruiting talent to establishing lasting partnerships.

When will NOM come into the picture?

In case of specific interest in the region. At the regional development company, a project manager is then assigned who goes in-depth and further into the various location aspects. That contact is intensive and a lot more personal. It is precisely these soft values that are very important at this stage, I have noticed. Incidentally, someone from headquarters often remains involved throughout the process.

What will you take away from this experience?

The uniqueness of the business climate in the Netherlands has become even clearer to me. And because of me, they know even better in The Hague what we have to offer as a region. But most important are the personal contacts. As a regional partner of the NFIA we have contact via email and telephone, we meet each other at get-togethers and at training sessions and meetings. The fact that we are now sitting next to each other only makes the bond stronger. And that will make the lines of communication even shorter. Are you still coming back to Groningen? I received a more than warm welcome here. But I definitely choose Groningen. And for NOM!