Sustainable & inclusive entrepreneurship

Data innovation

Digital technology was already transforming the way we do things before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In the Netherlands the level of connectivity, digital skills, internet services, online transactions and integrated data systems put the country in a good position to weather effects of lockdown.

Since March, the use of the digital highway increased as workers logged in from home and consumers turned to online shopping. At 38 percent, the Netherlands already had the highest share of online selling among EU member states, and the pandemic has led to an acceleration in the uptake of internet and e-services. Together with the Alliance for Digital Coexistence, the Dutch government is also supplying digital devices to as many people as possible. And to counter increased cyber attacks on the healthcare sector, cyber experts have formed the “We support Hospitals” coalition to provide free assistance to healthcare institutions.

The Netherlands has one of the most advanced digital economies in the EU, ranking 4th in the European Union Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). We have an excellent digital infrastructure with almost nationwide mobile broadband 4G coverage and are in the early stages of preparation for a 5G network. With 95% of the population using the internet, the Netherlands is a frontrunner in digital skills.

The use in businesses of advanced digital technology, such as AI, Internet of Things, cloud computing and big data analysis, is improving efficiency and opening up new opportunities. With regards to integration of digital technology, the Netherlands performs among the top 5 EU countries. At 5th place, we have also moved up to our highest ever Global Innovation Index (GII) ranking in quality of innovation.

More and more public services are also being provided online. Whereas previously this was a matter of convenience, the pandemic has increased the urgency of implementing e-governance. Privacy, digital security, inclusion, accessibility and transparency are essential to the open style of e-governance the Netherlands seeks to provide.

In 2020, the Netherlands launched a coalition to accelerate digital transformation in government by sharing knowledge and exchange ideas on artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies, digital cross-border services, development of digital identity, open source data, and cybersecurity. Find out more about the Digital Government Agenda, the NL AI Coalition and the Dutch Blockchain Coalition.


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Smart cities

Across the world, cities are growing rapidly; around 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050 compared. At present that figure is 55%. The increase in urban population presents several urgent challenges, putting substantial strain on resources with life-threatening implications.