Featured Image: Erasmus bridge, Rotterdam. Image credit: Rick Ligthelm on Flickr
The newly published Economic Monitor of South Holland 2015 (De Economische Monitor Zuid-Holland 2015) explores the regional economy of the Province of South Holland. Importantly, the report highlights the role of tech sector in the economic growth and the competitive position of the region. Here are the major takeaways, summarized by NRG Magazine.
The Economic Monitor of South Holland 2015 is a joint initiative of the Economic Program Council Zuidvleugel, the Province of South Holland, the Rotterdam-The Hague Metropolitan Area, and the InnovationQaurter. Its aim is to provide an analysis of the economic activity in the region. In short: the province’s full economic potential hasn’t been utilized just yet, but it’s successfully capitalizing on foreign investment and growing export. Meanwhile, technology has a role to play in the region’s economic development.
South Holland is one of the most urbanized provinces of The Netherlands, with a population of slightly over 3.6 million people. Local economic activity spans different sectors, and major economic strength is concentrated in the biggest cities of the province—Rotterdam and The Hague. According to the report, regional economy of South Holland grew by 1,5% in 2014, and thus exceeded the average of 0,9% per Dutch province. Science and technology contribute significantly to the growth of the region: this sector attracts R&D money, creates jobs and shapes the province’s image as a Smart Industry leader.
In 2012 South Holland received almost €2,8 billion for research and development purposes, which is the largest amount per province in the country. This happened due to the strong presence of public research institution, among whom TNO, the Dutch nonprofit company specializing in applied scientific research. Technical University Delft, Leiden University and Erasmus University form a strong technical knowledge base of the region; this accounts for high public R&D expenditures. Meanwhile, private R&D spending in South Holland is lower than the national and international norms. Based on the previous research of TNO and The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies which highlighted the positive correlation between private R&D spending and economic growth in country, the study outlines private R&D as one of the areas the province should pay closer attention to.
Citing the classification of Regional European Innovation Scoreboard 2014, the report describes South Holland as an “innovation follower.” In this classification, which is valid within the European Union, an innovation follower performs better than a regional moderate innovator and regional modest innovator, but worse than a regional innovation leader. What prevents South Holland from joining other EU regions in the club of innovation leaders? According to the report, the reason for this is that the province has too few innovative businesses, and that the already existing know-how is rarely applied to new products. On the upside, the innovators that are located in South Holland are successful in collaborating with each other, and many of them are known internationally.
The so-called “hotspots” seem like an interesting phenomena in the region’s economic life. These are not just hubs of innovation and knowledge exchange, but also top employers: six out of eight hotspots continued to offer more and more jobs, despite the overall rise of unemployment in the region. All of these hotspots operate in the domain of Science or Technology.
According to the report, South Holland also remains unparalleled when it comes to the so-called Dutch key sectors, at least from the viewpoint of companies’ concentration. Key sectors are the nine special areas particularly important to the Dutch economy; the expertise accumulated by Dutch enterprises and researchers in these areas is important not only to the national economy, but globally as well. The province is the high-tech leader of the country, with almost 92,000 jobs in the key sector High Tech Systems and Materials.
*All data appearing in this article was taken from the Economic Monitor of South Holland 2015, unless other source is indicated.
TEXT Mariia Stolyga