According to the Philips top executive Frans van Houten, the high-tech region of Eindhoven is a shining example for the rest of the Netherlands. He believes that if similar kind of collaboration happens in more places as in Brainport, this country can continue to be among the world leaders.
This call is part of the EW Economics Lecture, which Van Houten gave on Monday. The chairman of the board called for more investments in so-called knowledge clusters. These are areas where companies and knowledge institutions work closely together.
According to Van Houten, this approach has proven itself in the Brainport region. “The high-tech cluster with companies such as ASML, Signify, NXP, VDL and Philips took twenty years to grow to its current form. Now, this region is one of the most productive and innovative regions in the world”.
He strongly believes that following this approach in other parts of the country can create more opportunities for the Netherlands to continue to compete internationally. “The cabinet would do well to further promote promising clusters. Amsterdam can take on a pioneering role for information technology, with companies such as Booking.com, Adyen and Takeaway. Around Wageningen and Delft, there’re clusters for sustainable horticultural and agricultural technology; in Leiden and Rotterdam, there’s a great deal of knowledge about biomedical innovation. If we can realize five or six successful clusters, then our future prosperity becomes more certain”.
Van Houten thinks, that without proper steps taken, the Netherlands will lose its current position in international competition. After all, Schiphol Airport and the port of Rotterdam are less important than before. “I predict that, with unchanged policies, the Netherlands will no longer be in the top five in five years’ time.”
In addition to building knowledge clusters, more investments should also be made in education and infrastructure. More young people should receive technical training and there should be high-speed lines between the Randstad and other parts of the country.
Translation: Chaitali Sengupta, who gives ONLINE Inburgering classes.