On September 7, 2023, the Business Climate Survey 2023 for the Netherlands was launched at the Swedish Embassy in The Hague, in collaboration with the Swedish Chamber of Commerce and Team Sweden. The survey measures the economic outlook, industry trends, success factors, local conditions, and opportunities for Swedish companies in the Netherlands and how they compare to global results.
“The Business Climate Survey deepens our understanding of the current business climate in the Netherlands and gives us a sound basis for the continued business dialogue. The Swedish–Dutch business relations run deep, which is reflected in the optimism felt by Swedish companies here”, said Ambassador Johannes Oljelund while opening the launch.
Håkan Jevrell, the State Secretary for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade underlined that the Swedish and Dutch markets share common features with a high level of innovation, technology, digitalization, and sustainability. “This presents further possibilities for deeper and broader business relations between Sweden and the Netherlands”.
State Secretary Jevrell also encouraged Swedish companies to continue promoting the benefits of doing business in the Netherlands: “This report shows that the Netherlands is a shining example of how things could and should be for Swedish companies abroad. I’m very confident that the Netherlands will remain an important trade partner for Sweden. The strategic location, and high level of innovation and digitalisation, also make it a stepping stone for entering new markets for many Swedish companies”.
Kerstin Gerlagh, managing director of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce presented the Business Climate Survey 2023 for the Netherlands and highlighted some of the key findings:
- Swedish companies in the Netherlands rate the business climate in the Netherlands 4.5 out of 5 which ranked the Netherlands first in Europe and third globally.
- In 2022, an impressive 83% of Swedish companies in the Netherlands reported profitability, surpassing the global average of 68%. This was the highest profitability rank globally, together with Brazil.
- The Netherlands has the highest environmental and sustainability interest from customers globally, together with the UK and Germany. In the Netherlands, the rate is at 87%.
- 34% of the responding Swedish companies report to have between 20-50% female staff in their management teams.
The following panel of experts spoke at the event:
- Håkan Jevrell: State Secretary for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade (online)
- Johannes Oljelund: Ambassador of Sweden in the Netherlands
- Everth Flores: CEO at Ericsson Netherlands
- Bas Dubois: Managing Director at Benelux Volvo Buses
- Tomas Korseman: Trade & Invest, Commissioner of Sweden to Benelux at Business Sweden
- Patrick Blankers: Policy Director Sustainability at Ericsson Netherlands
- Kerstin Gerlagh: General Manager at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce
In the panel discussion that followed, Swedish companies based in the Netherlands elaborated on the following themes:
Sustainability: That sustainability means a lot to the Dutch customer is no surprise for Swedish companies, and many of them are confident that their Swedish roots help them to deliver on that promise. “Maybe not everyone realizes it, but Swedish companies here have a very significant presence in sectors such as energy, mobile traffic, and transportation. Our Swedish values and strive for sustainability do add to the success Swedish companies experience in the Dutch market”, on company representative underlined.
Finding talent: The survey showed that one of the few challenges Swedish companies in the Netherlands have is finding talent not least female talent in the tech sector. One suggestion was to involve school pupils to get to know tech from an early age and what it actually means to society today.
Housing: Companies recognized the difficulty in finding affordable housing in the Netherlands when having to attract talent from abroad. “Why should talents come to the Netherlands when the cost of living is so high?” one company representative said, adding one suggested solution: “We don’t move them any longer – we work online”.
Conclusion: The conditions in the Netherlands are very good for Swedish companies. Swedish values mean added value when attracting customers and talent. Sweden is leading witin equality, innovation, sustainability, and design. Sharing Swedish values more both internally and externally can help boost business even further.
About the Business Climate Survey
The Business Climate Survey is an initiative that seeks to identify the opportunities and challenges Swedish companies face when conducting business worldwide. This year marks the survey’s third consecutive year in the Netherlands.
The survey was distributed to a selective sample of 170 local executives representing Swedish companies, with 47 providing answers, leading to a 28 percent response rate. The answers were collected between March 13th and April 4th, 2023. We extend our sincere gratitude to the participating companies and respondents who have contributed to the survey. Their invaluable input has made it possible to present an accurate and insightful assessment of the Dutch market.