Peter Wennink, ASML
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Peter Wennink, CEO of ASML, was a guest on the Dutch news tv program Nieuwsuur yesterday. He emphasized the need for knowledge migrants and warned of the economic consequences of isolating China. Wennink argues that excluding knowledge migrants and export restrictions imposed by the U.S. could weaken the Netherlands.

  • ASML CEO Peter Wennink stresses importance of knowledge migrants for NL economy;
  • He also warns of the economic consequences of isolating China;
  • Wennink advocates maintaining English as the language of instruction in Dutch universities.

Knowledge migrants: indispensable to the Dutch economy

Wennink’s position on knowledge migrants is clear: they are indispensable to the Dutch economy. He notes that they contribute to the economy and pay taxes. This view is supported by ASML, the largest technology company in Europe, with employees from as many as 124 nationalities. Many come from India, Turkey, Belgium, and Portugal.

However, ASML’s CEO is not alone in stressing the need for knowledge migrants. The OECD advises that if the Netherlands wants to maintain its economic growth, the rules for migrant workers must become more flexible. There is a growing shortage of skilled workers in several sectors in the Netherlands, and more than EU workers will be needed.

The role of language and education

Wennink also criticizes the idea of teaching only in Dutch at universities. He points out that the technology industry operates in English. Thus, using English as the language of instruction would contribute to a more inclusive educational environment and increase the attractiveness of Dutch universities for international students.

The Dutch education system plays a crucial role in attracting knowledge migrants. Figures from CBS also show this. The number of non-EU knowledge migrants coming to the Netherlands has increased from 320 in 2016 to 1860 in 2022. Part of this increase can be attributed to the security and abundant employment opportunities the Netherlands offers.

Netherlands-China: a complex economic relationship

Wennink is also concerned about the economic relationship with China, especially concerning the export restrictions imposed by the Netherlands under pressure from the US. He believes isolating China is pointless, as the country has 1.4 billion inhabitants and will look for solutions when faced with European and US restrictions. Last week, Huawei launched the Mate 60 Pro. This phone reportedly uses a chip made in China.

Future with more rather than fewer knowledge migrants

The current government in the Netherlands is divided on the issue of migration. Some political parties advocate easier labor migration, while others are reluctant. However, considering the opinions of experts such as Wennink, it seems that attracting more knowledge migrants and maintaining good economic relations with countries such as China is crucial for the future economic growth of the Netherlands.