As the Dutch startup scene gains momentum fueled by the country’s long-standing background in innovation, it’s time to take stock of the hottest tech cities in the Netherlands, and to examine how Dutch employers can cope with the growing talent shortage that goes hand in hand with great demand.
CD, Python, WiFi, Bluetooth, and DVD all came to life in one country in northwestern Europe — the Netherlands. With such an impressive history of innovation, it’s hardly surprising that the Dutch tech scene is now one of the most vibrant in the world.
Let’s look at some stats. The Netherlands is the most connected country in Europe and the fourth largest exporter of IT services in the world. 60 percent of all Fortune 2000 companies active in IT have set up shop here, with Cisco, Oracle, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Verizon, and Huawei among them.
As if having the second best broadband network in Europe wasn’t enough, the Netherlands also boasts the largest security cluster, The Hague Security Delta, and one of Europe’s most advanced data center markets.
Add world-class R&D facilities, a competitive tax climate, a tech-savvy English-speaking workforce, and a strong international travel infrastructure to the mix, and what you get are the perfect conditions for continued growth and innovation. No wonder the Dutch startup scene is quickly catching up with London and Berlin, with as many as 15 local venture capital companies giving it a leg-up.
Holland’s Hottest Tech Cities: Where Do Startups Find the Best Talent?
Amsterdam: Startup Powerhouse
Amsterdam’s tech scene is an eclectic soup made of large industry players, the government, and dozens of grassroots groups and communities. What’s more, tech specialists from all over the globe flock here, as Amsterdam genuinely is a great place to live. If there’s one place in the Netherlands startups can find all kinds of quality tech talent, it’s Amsterdam.
B.Amsterdam, an ultra-modern office space, serves as the physical — as well as spiritual — center of the city’s startup scene, and houses 67 companies that work and innovate alongside each other. The 3 buildings compile 43,000 square meters making it the biggest startup incubator in Europe
B.Amsterdam is also home to Startupbootcamp, one of the city’s top two accelerators.
The other one, Rockstart, has seen 20 of its graduates raise €15 million in funding, and create 150 permanent jobs.
Eindhoven: Deep-Tech Epicenter
Despite being overshadowed by Amsterdam, in 2013, Forbes labeled Eindhoven “hands-down the most inventive city in the world”. According to the OECD, Eindhoven produces 22.6 patents per 100,000 people. As a comparison, the next closest city is San Diego with 8.9 patents.
The city is home to Eindhoven University of Technology, one of Europe’s top technical schools, and the High Tech Campus, “the smartest square kilometer in the world.” Therefore, Eindhoven is definitely the place to be for startups that are looking to hire programmers with that innovative spark.
The High Tech Campus used to be a Philips R&D lab, but now houses about 135 companies. These include about 60 startups and 10,000 researchers from 85 countries. Whether it really is “the smartest square kilometer” on the planet may be up for debate, but it definitely is the most prolific producer of technical entrepreneurship in Holland.
Delft: Student Hub
If Amsterdam is all about software, Delft is where high-tech innovation thrives. The city boasts the largest tech university in the country, Delft University of Technology, whose students make up between 10 and 15 percent of its almost 100,000 population.
With these numbers in mind, it’s hardly surprising that YES!Delft, one of the country’s first startup incubators, receives as many as 500 applications a year, although some of these come from outside the Netherlands.
Hardware and engineering are among the strongest academic focuses in the city, and naturally most startups in Delft specialize in these fields. This is helped by the fact that companies can easily find programmers with the necessary skills locally.
Rotterdam: Tech City on the Rise
Known as the Netherlands’ second largest city and Europe’s largest and busiest shipping port, Rotterdam is starting to gain steam as a competitive startup location.
The city’s tech ecosystem is rooted within Erasmus University Rotterdam, especially its School of Management and Medical Center. This explains why the majority of startups in Rotterdam are related to medical and corporate entrepreneurship, as finding the right tech talent is comparatively easier here.
Rotterdam’s superior shipping facilities have also fostered the growth of port-related startups, helped by the support of Port Innovation Lab.
What’s more, in 2015, Cambridge Innovation Center picked Rotterdam as its first location outside the US due to its proximity to the great number of quality universities, major maritime and rail connections, and a powerful work ethic found there.
What If You Can’t Find the Right Programmers in the Netherlands?
With such a vibrant tech ecosystem, it may come as a surprise that a lot of Dutch employers have trouble hiring skilled tech workers. Despite an abundance of schools training ICT specialists, research has shown that experienced, well-educated ICT professionals and technicians are among the most difficult-to-hire candidates in the Netherlands.
Over a fifth of vacancies in the ICT industry went unfulfilled in each quarter in 2014, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS). Although the gap between employer demand and job seeker interest has been getting smaller over the last few years, the supply of quality engineers is still too low, especially as 13 percent of all vacancies in Holland come from the engineering sector.
As a result, many startups have no other choice than to seek alternative ways to fill their development positions.
One such way is to source engineers from countries with wider tech talent pools. This may mean relocating developers to Holland (kennismigranten), or working with them remotely.
And this is where we come in. Daxx is a Dutch-owned technology partner that connects companies from all over the world with skilled developers in Ukraine.
With access to more than 90,000 tech workers, we’re able to match you with exactly the kind of talent you need. You get to personally interview the most promising candidates, then approve those who are the best fit for your company. After hiring, members of your remote development team are managed exclusively by you.
Aside from providing your engineers with comfy office space and all the hardware they need for work, we retain your team, offer Agile consulting, and take care of HRM, taxes, and payroll.
If you’d rather have your engineering team in-house, we can help you with relocating software developers to the Netherlands.
Specify what kind of tech talent you’re looking for, or request more information in the contact form below.