As many as 100 companies have relocated to the Netherlands, away from Britain, or set up offices there to be within the European Union due to the United Kingdom’s planned departure from the bloc on 31 October, according to a Dutch government agency. Another 325 firms are thinking of setting up their bases in the Netherlands because of the same reason, the representative said. Both sets of businesses include British firms as well as those from North America, Asia and Australia.
“Brexit undeniably has economic implications for international businesses because they do business everywhere in Europe,” said Jeroen Nijland, Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) commissioner. “The ongoing uncertainty in the United Kingdom, and the increasingly clearer possibility of a no deal, is causing major economic unrest for these companies. That is why more and more companies are orienting themselves in the Netherlands as a potential new base in the European market.”
The overwhelming majority of those companies had offices in Britain but, since the 2016 referendum, have either relocated to the Netherlands or established offices there. The rest wanted to move into the UK but changed their plans due to Brexit. By the end of last week, 98 firms had set up shop in the Netherlands mostly because they would otherwise have no access to the important EU market after a no-deal Brexit. They include media companies Bloomberg and Discovery, and financial firms MarketAxess and Norinchukin. Other businesses attracted to the Netherlands because of Brexit are in the IT, advertising, life sciences and health sectors.
“Our experience shows that when a Brexit deal gets further out of sight, and the chance of a no deal increases, more companies contact us,” said Nijland. Other countries whose firms may be affected by a no-deal Brexit and who are considering relocating include France, Ireland, Germany and Belgium, he added.
Despite the greater interest from foreign companies, overall Britain’s departure from the EU “is not good news” for the Netherlands, said Michiel Bakhuizen, a spokesperson for the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA). “The UK is our second-largest trading partner in Europe and 200,000 jobs in the Netherlands are related to the economic relationship with the UK,” he noted.