The promotion of the Life Sciences sector in the Netherlands recently received quite a compliment. The United Nations Investment Promotion Award 2021 went to the Invest in Holland network, which - with help from the NOM and others - is positioning the Netherlands as one Life Sciences & Health ecosystem.
Invest in Holland left behind more than 180 participating network organizations from around the world and sees the award as confirmation that it is on the right track. ,,We have made huge strides in recent years,'' says Sandra de Wild, Head of Strategic Projects & Business Climate at Invest in Holland. ,,Now it is a matter of rolling out the joint proposition and keeping the attention on it.''
The Netherlands is too small for regions to compete against each other for the attention of foreign investors. It works to the advantage of all regions to zoom out and portray the Netherlands as one big metropolis, in which all regions are connected. Mutual cooperation strengthens the strength of the whole.
That may sound logical, but until a few years ago it didn't quite work that way. Regions mainly worked on the image of their own area. In 2015, the Invest in Holland Strategy was created in which regions and national government work together to convince foreign companies to come to the Netherlands. The arrival of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is a great example showing that this approach works.
Sandra de Wild: ,,All of Europe wanted the agency and we saw that as the Netherlands we stood a bigger chance than individual regions. When that succeeded, we continued working on a joint promise to convince more companies and institutions of our strength.''
To compete with important Life Sciences & Health (LSH) regions in Europe, such as Germany, France and Switzerland, Invest in Holland portrays the Netherlands as one area full of innovation, collaboration and specializations. The distances in the Netherlands - seen from many countries they are very short - justify this. To illustrate this, in recent years Invest in Holland has been working on a "metro map" of our country that shows where what can be achieved and how knowledge networks are connected.
NOM, like other regional development companies, was happy to cooperate in the creation of the national proposition. Gerard Lenstra represents the North in the national network for the LSH sector. ,,To stand the best chance of obtaining large investments, it is often better to profile yourself as the Netherlands. Together we have many more strengths, especially through mutual cooperation. Every region can benefit.''
This is already happening. Large parties settling in Amsterdam, for example, are getting knowledge from Groningen. Essentially, they have to choose the Netherlands first. Then the various regions will automatically come into play, because the national networks are ironclad.
Sandra de Wild: ,,The power of this is still growing. We share best practices with each other, talent and knowledge. As that becomes better known in the world, we become more attractive as a business location. There is a growing awareness that all regions have a common interest. We continue to sharpen the message and hammer on the added value. The fact that we have now won this Award helps us in that respect.''
Invest in Holland
The network organization Invest In Holland is a collaboration between the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), regional development agencies, major cities and Holland Distribution Land, the promotional association for the Dutch logistics sector. The goal of Invest in Holland is to attract and assist major parties that want to establish themselves in the Netherlands or are already developing activities in our country.
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