Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation
Between Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe

Policy Context

Africa-EU STI policy landscape




The Netherlands - a unitary state - is a prosperous, densely populated country, with 16.8 million inhabitants in 2014, according to Statistics Netherlands [1].

Profile developed by: Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI), Austria (data as at 2013). To submit comments and/or requests for corrections, write to 

This amounted to 3.31% of the total EU28 population in 2013 [2]. The Dutch knowledge economy is, in economic terms, among the better performing countries in the world. The share of the Netherlands in the total GDP of the EU28 is relatively high with 4.23% in 2012 ([3] and 4.6 in 2013. The GDP per inhabitant is well above EU28 average. In the period 2010-2012 it first grew from €35,300 per inhabitant to €35,900 and then dropped to €35,800 per inhabitant [4]. Due to the economic crisis, GDP growth varied: while growth was moderate (1.8%) in 2008, it deteriorated heavily to -3,7% in 2009 and then started growing again 1.5% in 2010. In 2011 there was a small drop with 0.9% that deteriorated again to -1.2% in 2012. In 2013, the realised GDP growth rate is estimated to arrive at -1.0% growth. In terms of GERD as percentage of GDP, however, the Netherlands performs above EU28 average (GERD = 2.16% prediction in 2012). BERD in particular is relatively low (BERD = 1.22% in 2011). GBAORD in percentage of GDP, on the other hand, is well above EU 27 average (GBAORD = 0.82% in 2012).

According to the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013, the Netherlands is in the group ’innovation followers’, with innovation performance below those of the ’innovation leaders’ but close to or above that of the EU27 average [5]. Within this group, the Netherlands is, however, a ’moderate grower’, which is an improvement vis-à-vis the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2011, when the Netherlands was characterised as a ‘slow grower’. The Netherlands has experienced the fastest growth in "Non-R&D innovation expenditures" and "SMEs innovating in-house" of all Member States. A strong decline is observed for knowledge-intensive services. According to the IU Scoreboard 2013, the Netherlands has relative strengths in ‘Open, excellent and attractive research systems’ and for ‘Linkages and entrepreneurship’. Its relative weaknesses are in ‘Firm investments’ and ‘Innovators’.     


[1] Statistics Netherlands (2013). Population counter.

[2] Eurostat (2014). Total population. The 2013 estimation of the total EU28 population was 507.198 million.

[3] Eurostat (2014), Gross domestic product at market prices; Millions of Purchasing Power Standard. The GDP (2012) of the Netherlands is €549.2 billion, the GDP (2012) of EU28 is €12,993.8 billion.

[4] Eurostat (2014), Gross domestic product at market prices; Euro per inhabitant. The value for EU28 in 2012 is €25,500 per inhabitant.  

[5] Other ‘innovation followers’ are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovenia and the UK (source: Innovation Union Scoreboard IUS 2013).


Source and more information: ERAWATCH Platform on Research and Innovation policies and systems

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