Peter Wennink, ASML
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The Dutch government is working on operation “Beethoven” to keep the leading tech company ASML in the Netherlands. This is in response to concerns the chip machine manufacturer expressed about the local business climate, mainly because of problems surrounding knowledge migrants. These rumors were confirmed yesterday by both outgoing Minister Micky Adriaansens (Economic Affairs) and Peter Wennink (CEO ASML) at the Techleap conference.

Why this is important

Chip machine manufacturer ASML’s recent announcement about considering expansion outside the Netherlands has caused unrest within the cabinet.

The Dutch government has launched operation “Beethoven” to retain ASML, a crucial player in the chip industry. ASML, with more than 21.000 employees and a significant proportion of international talent, is considering expansion abroad due to restrictions on knowledge migrants. Several ministries are working together to keep the company in the Netherlands, while ASML calls for a stronger EU role in the global technology battle.

ASML top executive Peter Wennink publicly expressed his irritation yesterday about the attitude of politicians in The Hague toward the tech sector. At Techleap’s congress, only Adriaansens was present; five other invited politicians canceled at the last minute yesterday morning. Wennink’s words come as a clear warning: the Dutch government must take action or risk losing one of its crown jewels.

Knowledge migrants and international talent

ASML’s growth is inextricably linked to the availability of talent. With forty percent of its workforce coming from abroad, the current restrictions on knowledge migrants are a major obstacle. The Netherlands must remain attractive to international talent if it is to continue to host companies like ASML. The Dutch government’s “Beethoven” operation directly responds to this challenge.

The future of ASML and the Netherlands

While the Dutch government is working on plans to keep ASML within its borders, the outcome remains uncertain. Talks between the government and ASML will be crucial in the time ahead. The future of the Dutch tech sector is at stake, and with ASML a central player in this industry, it is clear that the stakes are high. It is now up to politicians to show that they recognize the importance of the tech sector and are willing to take the necessary steps to offer companies like ASML a fruitful future in the Netherlands.

The voice of the tech sector

Prince Constantijn van Oranje, Techleap’s special envoy, also spoke out on the issue. He stressed the importance of a strong business climate in the Netherlands for the tech sector’s growth. According to him, the stagnation of this growth is a warning sign, and the government should take the industry seriously, he told NPO Radio 1 yesterday.

Operation “Beethoven” shows that the Dutch government is taking action, but it is still uncertain whether these measures will be enough to keep ASML in the Netherlands. The company has made clear what is needed to guarantee their future in the Netherlands. Now it is up to the government to meet this challenge and make the necessary changes. The time ahead will determine the future of ASML, the Dutch tech sector and the economic position of the Netherlands on the world stage.