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RIO Country Report The Netherlands 2016

"The annual RIO Country Report offers an analysis of the R&I system in The Netherlands, including relevant policies and funding, with particular focus on topics critical for EU policies. The report identifies the main challenges of the Dutch research and innovation system and assesses the policy response."


Executive summary


  • The economic recovery of the Dutch economy proceeds into 2016. In 2015, economic growth accelerated to 2.0% of GDP, following 1.0% in 2014.
  •  Labour productivity is high and the Netherlands is among OECD countries with the highest skilled labour force.
  • In 2016 the Netherlands became one of the 'innovation leaders' of the European Innovation Scoreboard.
  • Public expenditures on R&D have not been subject to fiscal consolidation pressure.
  • Appropriations for direct funding of R&D are stabilising but will drop as % of GDP in 2016-2018.
  • The R&D tax allowances comprised about 87% percent of total government support to private sector R&D (not including the Innovation Box).
  • The Netherlands has as strong position in international and European rankings on e-government and public sector innovation.
  • The GERD of 2.0 % and 2.01 of GDP measured in 2014 and 2015 respectively  is similar to the EU28 average, but well below the national target of 2.5%.

Main R&I policy challenges

  • Improve low level of public support for R&D Government expenditure on R&D is low in comparison to other advanced economies. It increased between 2014 and 2015 from € 4.4 to € 4.5 b.  Appropriations for public funding increased between 2014 and 2015, but are projected to decrease again until 2017 as % of GDP.
  • Increase intensity of private R&I The business sector as a whole invests less in R&D and in knowledge-based capital than is the case in other advanced innovation systems.  Indirect (fiscal) support measures have come to dominate the Dutch enterprise and innovation policy mix. In 2016 the platform NLGroeit (Netherlands Grows) was launched to enhance the number of fast growing (innovative) companies.  For 2015 the CBS reports that the number of fast growing companies increased again by 10%, though not all these firms are innovation intensive.
  • Address (future) skill shortages. The Netherlands has a strong and highly educated workforce for innovation, but has faced challenges responding to emerging labour market needs. This situation may deteriorate in the face of an ageing population, digitisation and other specific societal challenges.   The Human Capital Agendas of the top sectors and the Technology Pact are intended to address the shortage of skilled workers.


Main R&I Policy Developments in 2016


Geo coverage
Report year
Official publication date
Friday, 12 May, 2017
Last update: 24/10/2017 | Top | Legal notice | Contact | Search