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32 interest groups, companies, and knowledge and educational institutions have called in an emergency call to the Dutch parliament to keep the National Growth Fund intact. According to them, the innovation and entrepreneurial climate is under pressure in the Netherlands. In the letter, they express their concerns about the innovative power and earning capacity of the Netherlands. The government must act as a reliable partner, they write. “For innovation, you need certainty, and parliament is threatening to take decisions that will erode business confidence in the government,” said NLdigital director Lotte de Bruijn.

In the fire letter, an initiative of the digital sector trade association NLdigital and the technology industry business association FME, they stress that the government does not sufficiently realize that action is needed in the short term. Theo Henrar, president of FME: “The Lower House is engaged in short-term politics; they are further demolishing the innovation climate of the Netherlands. Look at the glaring examples: the National Growth Fund is being grabbed, and the 30% ruling has been made more austere. The Chamber needs to realize that there is a need for stability and continuity for business.”

National Growth Fund

The reason for the letter is the uncertainty surrounding the passage of the National Growth Fund. In a recent House of Representatives debate, Minister Adriaansens of Economic Affairs and Climate – under pressure from the forming parties – agreed to postpone the fourth round of the Growth Fund for a few months. With the National Growth Fund, the cabinet invests in projects that contribute to the digitization of the economy and the development of innovative technology for healthcare, education, and energy transition, among other things. Several companies, knowledge institutions, and other organizations were already working on proposals. They are now in great uncertainty.

From the fire letter: “During this debate, there has been a lack of clarity as to whether the postponement of the fourth round of the Growth Fund will not be a cancellation. We call on you to keep the National Growth Fund’s fourth round intact and provide clarity on this well before June 1. The innovation engine of the Netherlands cannot be stopped temporarily. Companies, knowledge institutions, and other organizations urge you to continue and clarify the fourth round until there is an alternative. Only in this way can we continue the much-needed investments.”

Continued investment needed

Lotte de Bruijn on Forum: “In recent years, many steps have been taken to make the Netherlands a leader in innovation. This is essential for various topics, such as healthcare and safety. If we turn off the money tap of the National Growth Fund now, many efforts will have been in vain.” That also affects the strategic dependencies of the Netherlands, she says. “You cannot complain about us becoming increasingly dependent on foreign countries, including in the digital field if we curtail investments in knowledge and innovation.”

According to Theo Henrar, entrepreneurs need to innovate to solve societal problems. “The government says it wants to do this in close cooperation with the business community. However, this cooperation is put under pressure by unclear and unpredictable behavior of that same government. Quick clarity on the Growth Fund reduces the declining confidence of entrepreneurs in the government.”

These organizations signed the letter:

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