Rinke Zonneveld © InnovationQuarter

Ask any foreigner for the absolute Dutch highlights and chances are high that he or she will mention quite a few from the province of South Holland. The port of Rotterdam, three top universities, the country’s administrative centre in The Hague, an art history to be envied and what not. And yet, it was precisely this region that, until a few years ago, did not perform very well. Growth was lagging behind, the province lacked the resources to stimulate the economy, unemployment was high, big parts of the industry were outdated, there was little interest from foreign companies and local entrepreneurs wanted to scale up outside the province.

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.