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The Netherlands is carving out a significant niche in the global semiconductor industry, with a unique blend of large corporations and small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contributing to its success. The country is home to over 300 semiconductor companies, employing over 50,000 people and generating an annual turnover exceeding 30 billion euros, a report by RVO shows. This robust industry is not confined within the country’s borders, with many Dutch companies operating internationally, further amplifying their impact.

  • A report created by RVO shows that the Dutch semiconductor industry is robust.
  • The European Chips Act can further strengthen the Dutch position as a powerhouse for chip innovation.

The Netherlands’ semiconductor industry is anchored by ASML, the world’s largest machine builder for semiconductor manufacturing. However, the industry’s strength is its diversity, with numerous SMEs contributing to its dynamism and resilience. These smaller companies, often employing hundreds of people, offer a level of versatility that complements the stability provided by larger corporations.

The Dutch chip design community is a vital part of the global Integrated Circuit (IC) ecosystem, serving as a natural starting point for both semiconductors and integrated photonics ICs. The community is thriving, with nearly 100 companies integrated into the Dutch Semiconductor top sector. These companies and institutions operate in their unique niches, boasting proven track records in their areas of expertise. From innovating wireless data transmission and sensor data acquisition to patented security technology and core expertise on mixed-signal and IC design, the Netherlands offers a wealth of knowledge and established Intellectual Property (IP) in the field of chip design.

“Quadruple helix”

The Netherlands’ success in the semiconductor industry is also attributed to its “quadruple helix” approach, which ensures collaboration between knowledge institutions, industry, society, and government to solve global challenges. This approach has fostered a well-coordinated and successful public-private innovation ecosystem, making the Netherlands attractive for chip design companies.

The country’s knowledge institutions are crucial in maintaining its innovative edge. Universities across the Netherlands, such as the University of Twente, Delft University of Technology, and the Eindhoven University of Technology, have focused investment on training the next generation of semiconductor innovators. These institutions provide education and engage in cutting-edge research, develop new chip design techniques, and file patents for innovative solutions.

Chips Act

The passage of the European Chips Act in 2023 by the European Commission, which aims to support and increase semiconductor R&D and production across Europe, further bolsters the Netherlands’ position in the industry. The Act will facilitate innovation in areas such as chip design, packaging, and heterogeneous systems, supported by a strong and stable ecosystem. Given its established importance in the semiconductor industry in Europe, the Netherlands stands to benefit greatly from this capital investment, setting the stage for new developments across the semiconductor value chain.

The Netherlands combines large companies’ stability with independent operators’ versatility. Its robust technological infrastructure, skilled workforce, supportive business environment, strategic location, and focus on future-oriented solutions make it an attractive hub for chip design companies. With the passage of the European Chips Act, the stage is set for the Netherlands to continue its trajectory of innovation and growth in the semiconductor industry.