Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken

Dutch Diplo Talk

The Netherlands is the digital European port

7 Aug 2015

A man working on the computer in a Dutch datacenter.

Last week, our office hosted the Dutch Datacenter Association, who were joined by representatives of some of Europe’s most attractive data center locations and a number of Dutch hosting providers. To give an example of a typical participant:, a hosting provider based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, serves over 31,000 customers in 16 data center locations worldwide and has clients such as EA games, id software, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Xbox live and the Playstation Network. With this group of innovators, we discussed the state of the Dutch digital infrastructure.

Rotterdam had the busiest seaport in the world until 2002 and is the number one in Europe today. Amsterdam has the 4th busiest airport in the European Union, after London, Paris, and Frankfurt. There is a third European port in which the Netherlands takes a top position: digital infrastructure.

The digital infrastructure is built up by several elements. The first is the internet exchange, a physical location where networks meet to exchange data traffic. The Amsterdam Internex Exchange (AMS-IX) is the largest in the world and still expanding. Secondly, co-locations for datacenter housing and hosting are growing fast, both for service providers and e-commerce. In 2014 data center take-up in Europe has been highest in Amsterdam, showing a growth of 179% compared to 2013. . In the third place telecommunication is part of the digital infrastructure, and the Netherlands hosts many European headquarters (Intel, Netflix, Texas Instruments, Canon, Cyber Solutions).

The Netherlands has an interesting ecosystem to offer. 93 percent of the population is connected to the internet through a smart fiber grid. A sustainable infrastructure through full green energy and 1.31 Power Usage Effectiveness compared to a global average of 1.8. The sector already covers more than 5 percent of our GDP and has an annual growth of almost 10 percent. The other two large European ports (harbor and airport) are within less than an hour traveling time and therefore should be considered as one ecosystem.

I am proud of the entrepreneurship and innovation in this Dutch sector. Until recently, it wasn’t uncommon for American venture capitalists to demand that a Dutch business relocate to the US in order to qualify for their investment. Currently, we see a trend of US investors investing directly into Dutch companies, or even opening a branch in the Netherlands themselves. They start to realize that the Dutch regulations for an exit are not that harsh. Do you think I sound like an American? You bet I do.


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  • 7 Aug 2015, 8:47
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About the author

Hugo Von Meijenfeldt
Written by Hugo Von Meijenfeldt

Consul-General in San Francisco

Hugo von Meijenfeldt was appointed as representative for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the 13 westernmost United States in August 2013.

Prior to his current position, Hugo was Deputy Director General at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. He also served as Special Envoy for Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2009 until 2013. In this capacity, he led Dutch participation in global diplomatic activities to reach a climate agreement.

Previously, Hugo was Director for Soil, Water and Rural Environment. For several years he held the position of Deputy Director for International Affairs, Chairman of the Committee on Environmental Policy of UN-ECE Geneva, and Head of the European Policy Division (including the EU Presidency in 1997). From 1982 until 1991, he was Legal Counsel to the soil clean-up division.

Hugo earned his Masters in Public Law and Policy at the Free University in Amsterdam in 1981. He is member of the WorldConnectors and the Sustainability Challenge Foundation.