Engines of the Dutch Economy: Multinationals, Family Businesses, and Growth

A Note from the CEO, Eduard Schaepman

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CBS (Central Bureau for Statistics) statisticians have announced that the value of the Dutch economy has doubled since 2005 and even tripled since 1995. In total, 'we' are worth 1 trillion euros. That's one thousand billion. What a lot of money. Increased working hours and higher labor productivity are the main causes of this success.

Given that most people find it pleasing to become more prosperous, it remains desirable to grow the economy. Especially when we consider that healthcare, climate change, increasing dike heights, and defence, to name a few, are becoming more expensive. It doesn't help when the largest companies hint at leaving the Netherlands. Apart from whether this will actually happen, perhaps we should all be a bit prouder of our big players, the multinationals.

Okay, you could say that Peter Berdowski (Boskalis) always has something to complain about, when he recently hinted at leaving again. The company still made a record profit last year (601 million on 4.3 billion turnover). Is our business climate really that bad then? More serious seems the cry for help from chip giant ASML. Without now labeling all the ins and outs, let alone fiscal, of true or untrue comments, it seems that especially the cutbacks on the expat arrangement (knowing that 40 percent of the employees here are expats) and the budget cuts on the National Growth Fund, are counterproductive. But all the fuss about these important engines of the economy hides the situation of the Dutch #familybusinesses.

The news about the multinationals was present in all newspapers and television stations. As if our economy is only supported by these giants. Nothing more about a looming reduction of the #BOR that will affect our family businesses. Thus, we see again and again a media image in which family businesses do not attract nearly as much attention as multinationals on the stock market. Are we being too cautious? While the numbers speak for themselves: more than 60% of the companies are a #familybusiness, which together account for over thirty percent of the GDP.

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