The State of the Startups

Pieter Veldhuizen • 12 September 2018

Dear members of the States-General,

2019 will be an important year for the Netherlands. It will be a year where we have the opportunity to lay the foundation for the Netherlands to have the best startup ecosystem in the world. A year where we can become Europe’s digital frontrunner. A year where, if we look back in time, we can say: we did it.

To start with, the Netherlands will make it more fiscally attractive to invest in startups, whether you’re a private- or business investor. We will give new life to the ‘Tante Agaath’ arrangement. Secondly we aim to give more room for startups and scale-ups to pay their employees in stock options instead of wages. No longer we aim to be one of the worst-performing kinds in the European classroom when it comes to payment in stock. A crucial step to attract and retain the right talent for for our future economic prosperity.

Foreign talent will remain welcome in the Netherlands. Therefore we have no desire to change anything with regard to the current 30% ruling for expats. When there is scarcity, we need to ensure we attract talent to grow, innovate and learn.

Our future labour force will be a key factor in whether the Netherlands will become tech- and future proof. As from tomorrow, all children will be given every opportunity to learn digital and technology skills in the classroom. Today, in primary school we still teach as during the Industrial Revolution, while we want to prepare children for the 21st century and beyond.

European and national legislation must be dealt with from a more startup point of view. Rules, regulations and directives must acknowledge the diversity of the digital economy and should enable and empower companies instead of slowing them down. When it comes to new plans regarding digitalisation, our vantage point is seeing opportunities instead of threats.

Arrangements for startups and scale-ups will focus on the interests and mindset of entrepreneurs when it comes to speed, clarity and demands. No red tape, more relevant knowledge within The Hague and a more agile approach towards rules and regulations. Secondly, we strive to make public tendering more accessible and achievable for startups and scaleups.

This is just a start. We hope that in 2025 we look back on today and say that we took the necessary steps to move forward. The Netherlands has every opportunity to become the world’s leading startup ecosystem. Our history of freedom, creativity and innovation will be cherished. Decide now for today’s, tomorrow’s and future generations.


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