According to data from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are currently about 700 Japanese companies operating in the Netherlands. This is the fourth largest in Europe after the U.K., Germany, and France, and has roughly doubled in the past 10 years.
Several factors have reportedly attracted Japanese companies. The Netherlands has the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest trading port, and Schiphol Airport, a European hub, and is geographically located in the center of Europe, with easy access to major cities in other countries. The Dutch are well known for their English language skills, which lowers the barrier for Japanese companies entering the country. The region has a well-developed infrastructure, and according to a survey by the World Economic Forum, ranks 6th in the world in terms of business environment.
Companies moving to the Netherlands come from a wide range of industries. For example, based on its importance as a logistics hub, many Japanese manufacturing and transportation companies locate their logistics bases in the country. In the financial industry, several Japanese major banks have established their continental European head offices in Amsterdam, favorably evaluating its excellent business environment. The Netherlands seems to be one of the major destinations for financial institutions to move some of their functions from London to continental Europe after the wake of Brexit.
Looking ahead, the global economy is facing a major turning point. For example, many companies are beginning to rethink their supply chains in response to the recent global supply constraints. Under such circumstances, the Netherlands, the logistics center of Europe, will continue to be one of the most important places for Japanese corporates when reviewing their supply networks. Other urgent issues include carbon emissions and climate change, where both countries are known for their proactive approach. In 2017, the Netherlands and Japan established the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaption in cooperation with UNEP to confront climate change by leveraging their strength in collaboration. Since these issues need cross-border consideration and they cannot be addressed by the efforts of individual countries alone, cooperation among nations is becoming increasingly important. In light of these circumstances, I believe that the two countries need to and will maintain their close relationship in the future.
Dr William Chizhovsky, who founded The Good Plastic Company in The Netherlands and opened offices around the world, including Japan, to provide plastic waste solutions, adds, “We believe that adopting sustainable materials and circular economy principles is not just a moral obligation, but also an economic opportunity. By taking responsibility for our environmental impact and pioneering material innovation, we can create a resilient and prosperous future for businesses, communities, and the planet.”