The Toronto tech firm Rangle was impressed by the talent and connection to the rest of Europe. The Barrie-based manufacturer Napoleon was attracted by the strong infrastructure and centralized market access for distribution.
The two firms may come from different industries, but all routes led to the Netherlands when it came to expanding to Europe.
“We found the leadership, we found the diversity of talent in different disciplines, and we found our fit in the talent market, so overall it’s been a phenomenal experience and I don’t think it could have gone any better,” says Rangle CEO Nick Van Weerdenburg.
From its location and infrastructure to its innovative talent pool, the Netherlands is an attractive choice for Canadian CEOs looking to join the global economy.
The digital consultancy chose Amsterdam as its hub in 2019. With direct access to its home base in Toronto, as well to the general European market, the decision was easy.
“We wanted to be able to get around, so there’s great connectivity with the rest of Europe with flights and trains. This gives us the footprint we need to do the business we do effectively across the globe.”
Further south in the town of Tiel, Canadian oven and grill manufacturer Napoleon established its brand new 215,000-square-foot distribution centre in 2020. The move cemented Napoleon’s operations in the Netherlands, supplying gas grills to European customers.
For president Ron McArthur, the choice to create a new facility along the country’s canals was strategic, based largely on the country’s central position and infrastructure. “That’s part of the reason we picked the location. The containers come right into the depot just next to our facilities from the Port of Rotterdam,” McArthur says.
Canadian companies expanding into the European market have found an efficient and effective launch pad in the Netherlands, creating an optimal base for servicing Europe and beyond.
There’s Rangle and Napoleon, but also firms like McCain Foods, Vitalis, ImmunoPrecise, Vermilion Energy, Moka, Laborie Medical Technologies, FreshBooks and Clearcable that have successfully landed in or expanded to the Dutch country.
As a global leader in everything from technology, life sciences and sustainability to agriculture, artificial intelligence and education, the Netherlands has attracted a number of other North American businesses like Netflix, CGI, Tesla, Ritchie Bros. and Lightspeed.
“We’re expecting double-digit growth in revenue in our European operations over the next three years,” McArthur says of Napoleon’s trajectory. “And as a result, our team will grow exponentially.”
The reasons are stacked like stroopwafels in favour of a Dutch operation.
Doing business in the Netherlands comes with several critical benefits, the two companies say. There’s consistent connectivity with 170 million consumers within 500 km, a stable business environment and a focus on long-term environmental sustainability (No. 1 worldwide for material reuse rate and waste management; No. 2 in food system sustainability).
There’s also a multilingual workforce, an aspect that Canadian companies – themselves operating in a bilingual manner – can appreciate. With Europeans passing freely through the Schengen Zone, finding qualified workers that speak German, French, and of course fluent English is an advantage that few other European nations can boast at such scale.
A culture of innovation has also appealed to Canadian firms, with the Netherlands earning a No. 4 ranking by the EU Innovation Scoreboard 2020. The Dutch cultivate a technological research scene that feeds future-thinking and solution-driven innovations, which is one reason so many major companies have established research and development operations within its borders. With universities and tech campuses accessible across the country, the Netherlands ranked fourth in 2020′s IMD World Competitiveness Ranking.
Technology is at the forefront of nearly every Dutch industry, spurred in large part by the development of Europe’s fastest internet connection and one of the world’s largest internet exchanges in Amsterdam.
“The environment and the passion for technology, coupled with the quality of talent from all of the companies that are building software, that generates experience. It becomes foundational to what we do,” Van Weerdenburg said.
“Our Dutch associates will go above and beyond for our customers and that mindset is hard to beat. It’s a major value proposition that gives us a competitive edge.”
For free, confidential assistance on how to expand your business to the Netherlands, call the NFIA office in Canada at 647-616-9387 or visit investinholland.com.
Advertising feature provided by The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA). The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.