The Netherlands – 4th best country for business
The Netherlands is well connected to the world. The Dutch are known as international and well-educated people. The Dutch and Finns share the same values and cooperate for the same goals in different organizations. The Netherlands and Finland can increase their trade in global markets with joint efforts.
The Netherlands and Finland are solving global challenges together. Both countries are committed to ambitious climate targets. To accelerate the green and digital transition, the Netherlands and Finland collaborate in various sectors such as energy, bioeconomy, and health technology. As an example of Dutch-Finnish collaboration towards clean mobility, the Dutch company Lightyear’s solar electric vehicles will be manufactured in Finland by the Valmet Automotive.
The Netherlands’ circular economy program aims at developing a fully circular Dutch economy by 2050. The Holland Circular Hotspot and the Nordic Circular Hotspot help Dutch and Finnish enterprises to scale up solutions and to go to global markets. The two hotspots formally signed a Dutch-Nordic Partnership Agreement during the recent state visit of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander to Norway. Finland is known for wood construction and the Netherlands for the circular architecture - new products and markets can be reached by combining these skills, says Govert Jan Bijl de Vroe, Ambassador of the Netherlands in Finland.
Finland and the Netherlands also collaborate on clean hydrogen to mitigate climate change and to increase industrial competitiveness. Both countries are forerunners in digitalisation. Healthcare, smart mobility, and cyber security are sectors of interest. The Netherlands is a pioneer in quantum research and is currently developing the House of Quantum at the University of Delft bringing together scientists, entrepreneurs, students, financiers, and companies. An important part of the Dutch quantum strategy is strong cooperation with European partners involving Finland and Aalto University.
The Netherlands Point of Entry is the first stop for international companies looking to set up or scale up in the Netherlands. Both countries have skilled labour force with international mindset. The Dutch and the Finns are innovative & like-minded partners in the global economy. Rule of law, the EU single market and free trade are close to our hearts.
Mr. Mika Lintilä, Minister of Economic Affairs visited Rotterdam in November 2021 to increase the export of solutions related to automation and low emissions in shipping and maritime industry. Mr. Lintilä discussed about the sustainable development in the industries, energy transition, and potential cooperation in maritime sector with his counterpart in the Netherlands. The Nordic countries have a wide-scale cooperation in the Netherlands to connect with the wind and hydrogen sectors.
The corona virus pandemic increased the corporate and consumer responsibility and changed lifestyle of inhabitants. Lack of work force is a challenge for the growth of companies in The Netherlands, also including many Finnish companies. Innovation, digitalisation, and education are a partly answer to respond to this challenge, says H.E. Ms. Päivi Kaukoranta, Ambassador of Finland.
Netherlands is the fourth export country to Finland. Finnish export to the Netherlands is larger than to China and Russia. Many business opportunities for companies are found from bio- and circular economy, digitalisation, sustainable energy. Finland has a clean and stable environment for companies. Finns are trustworthy and innovative people. Finland and the Netherlands share many similar values.
Regional Business Development Baltics and Finland is an additional layer to the Netherlands embassy network to promote cooperation and business. The Netherlands values Nordic-Baltic region for the like-mindedness and potential to tackle climate change challenge together. Companies and organizations are searching for European level projects and formulas which are mutually beneficial. And try to solve global challenges like healthcare, sustainable construction, and clean energy solutions. A LinkedIn group and relevant events give possibilities for parties to network and find cooperation partners, explains Ms. Margot Roose, Business Development Baltics & Finland.
The Netherlands Point of Entry (NPE) is the first stop for international entrepreneurs looking to set up or scale up in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe. The Netherlands is the 4th best country for business. The strategic location provides the perfect access to the European market. In addition, excellent digital and physical infrastructure provides the necessary conditions for accelerated growth. The Netherlands is the most connective economy in the world.
The NPE can help companies and their subsidiaries. The NPE is a landing place for Finnish companies including startups. It helps companies receive startup-visas, register at the Chamber of Commerce, and open a bank account. The NPE also helps companies to arrange their workers’ personal and family matters by answering questions related to the school and medical issues etc. at the welcome centers. The NPE supports companies in the phase there are, says Mr. Rutger de Graaf, Director, The Netherlands Point of Entry (further information at https://www.netherlandspointofentry.nl/ecosystem/).
Team Finland brings together all public internationalisation services.
Finland’s global Team Finland network seeks proactively business relevant information to meet the needs of Finnish companies. This information can be read at www.marketopportunities.fi. The Finnish Team Finland -network assists companies in planning their way to international markets and helps them with practical issues. Key Team Finland organisations (Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Business Finland, Finnvera and regional ELY-centres and TE-offices) provide a wide range of financing Team Finland –services for companies, from aid and grants to loans and guarantees and from guidance and data on export markets to support in building business networks and help with trade barriers, etc.
Finnish Foreign Ministry has in Helsinki also some so called thematic Ambassadors who help companies in export and serve in the following sectors: energy & circular economy, education, digitalization, health & welfare and trade & development. Globally Finland has app. 90 foreign missions all over the world and in many countries honorary consuls also can help Finnish companies across the world. New embassies will be opened in Qatar and Senegal. For further information have a look at www.formin.fi
Regionally here in Finland, 15 Centres for Economic Development, Transport, and the Environment help companies’ way from the Finnish regions to international markets. Visit Finland helps Finnish travel companies to internationalize, develop, sell, and market high-quality travel products. Invest Finland is the official investment promotion agency for Finland.
Business is always made between human beings. In Finnish mentality for example power points and data can be very important, but in export business also learning, listening, and understanding are the key words to be remembered in everyday contacts, explains Mr. Juha Markkanen, Trade ambassador at Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in Helsinki.
Finnvera strengthens the operating potential and competitiveness of Finnish enterprises by offering loans, domestic guarantees, and export credit guarantees. For Finnish SMEs, Finnvera together with SME’s own bank provides financing for the start, growth, and internationalisation. In relation to the SME’s export contract, Finnvera can participate in arranging the needed bonds (e.g. for advance payment) or the needed working capital. Finnvera promotes the exports of all the Finnish companies by providing export credit guarantees against risks arising from exports and export financing together with exporter’s own bank. Finnvera promotes the exports of capital goods (e.g. machinery, production lines) to the Netherlands and assists in arranging of the needed export financing, says Liisa Tolvanen, Finnvera.
Finnvera is a specialised financing company owned by the State of Finland and it is the official Export Credit Agency (ECA) of Finland. For further information, have a look at https://www.finnvera.fi/eng
Egbert Schram, Group CEO of Hofstede Insights, has a long experience of working with international companies.
According to data collected among the 5000+ organisations Hofstede Insights has supported over the years and research it has been involved in since the original Hofstede study, these factors are typical for the way of working in Finland: non-hierarchical, rather task oriented, impatient consensus building, preference for structured approach, rather normative, relatively indulgent whereas the typical factors for the preferred way of working in the Netherlands are: non-hierarchical, very individualistic, consensus driven by very direct on-the-person type of discussion, preference for a structured approach, very “grey” on what happens in the structure, indulgent.
When Finnish and Dutch companies start working together, the relative cultural similarities can cause potential nasty surprises by a different way of working with regards to the Finnish preference for quick clarity and action after an initial analysis phase, versus the Dutch way of wanting to remain flexible and change agreements on the go which leads to a more adhoc way of working. The key to success is to have organisation specific agreements on what is "the joint way".
According to Ms. Laura Dib, Laura Dib, Owner, Consultant, Trademill Finland the internationalization process of a company can be compared to a marathon. Keys to successful market entry for SMEs are: Realism about the target market, ownership of the internationalization process and commitment to the process.
The Netherlands offers great opportunities for Finnish SMEs: the Dutch consumer market is three times the size of the Finnish one. It is an open and dynamic market and very well connected with the rest of the world. The Netherlands is often the company’s steppingstone to the world markets.
Trademill has been helping dozens of Finnish companies to the Netherlands since 2014.
Mr. Matti Lehmus, Executive Vice President, Neste’s Renewables Platform, Mr. Joe Hamari, CSO Smartvatten and Mr. Antti Känsälä, CEO, Yeply gave presentations on their companies’ way to the Dutch markets.
Anne Hatanpää, Liaison Manager, Finland Chamber of Commerce