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Making business in the Netherlands has become more difficult, a new survey reveals. According to Dutch entrepreneurs, the country’s business climate has deteriorated compared to the previous year. Nearly half of them don’t find the Netherlands an attractive country business-wise, and a fifth of the interviewees are considering leaving the country.

The National Business Climate Survey, conducted by the Dutch Confederation of Industry and Employers VNO-NCW and small and medium-sized entrepreneurs association MKB-Nederland, interviewed a sample of Dutch entrepreneurs. Every year, the research gives an overview of entrepreneurs’ sentiment.

Why this is important

Innovation goes hand in hand with entrepreneurship. Having a favorable business climate helps them flourish and bring impactful technology to society.

44 percent of them believe the Netherlands is not a good country to do business, and 20 percent are considering leaving. These shares increased in comparison with 2023 when 28 percent of the respondents found the Netherlands unattractive business-wise, and 13 percent considered moving business outside the country. Furthermore, over three-quarters of the interviewees (76 percent) believe the business climate deteriorated – in 2023, 62 percent thought so.

Lack of stable government policies

The lack of government stability is one of the main concerns of Dutch business owners. 82 percent are dissatisfied with the reliability and stability of politics and government – up from 66 percent of those surveyed last year. Also, nearly 60 percent are not confident that the election results will lead to a workable and stable government. Furthermore, businesses are most concerned about the increasing regulatory burden (56 percent), the shortage of personnel (52 percent), and taxes (43 percent).

Less investments and international concerns

A quarter of entrepreneurs (26 percent) say they will not invest (anymore) in the next 12 months. The figure is in line with various other studies about the declining investments in the Netherlands, with VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland having previously expressed their concerns on the matter.

Dutch entrepreneurs are also concerned about increasing tensions within Dutch society and in the international scenario. Over 70 percent see increasing polarization in Dutch society as a threat to the business climate (up from 67 percent in 2023). More than 60 percent are concerned about international tensions (Gaza, Ukraine) and the consequences for their own businesses.