Trade & Tulips
The Netherlands, sometimes (incorrectly) referred to as Holland, sits on the North Sea's delta, presenting a blend of historical maritime prowess, and innovative business growth. With its maze of canals, tulip fields, and windmills, the Netherlands is a country of picturesque beauty. Beneath all of this lies a powerful business ecosystem driven by centuries of trade, a strategic geographical position, and a willingness and eagerness to innovate.
Conquering The Seas
Historically, the Dutch have been a dominating force in global trade. The 17th century saw the country head to sea, laying the groundwork for its vast colonial empire, and The Dutch East India Company, or Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, was by far the largest company in the world during its heyday. In 1602, the Dutch East India Company officially became the world's first publically traded company when it released shares of the company on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. On the homefront, the Netherlands also developed its agriculture, reclaiming large land areas from the sea. Consequently, Dutch dairy products, flowers, and foodstuffs became prominent exports.
Tulip Mania was one of the first speculative investing bubbles ever and took place in between 1636 and 1637. During this period, the price of tulip bulbs soared to extraordinary levels, driven by speculative trading. At the height of the mania, some tulip bulbs reportedly sold for prices higher than the cost of luxurious homes. The bubble eventually burst, leading to financial ruin for many speculators and serving as an early, cautionary tale of the risks inherent in speculative assets.
The Port of Rotterdam, one of the world's busiest ports, is a perfect example of the Netherlands' continued relevance in global trade. The port in Rotterdam receives inconceivable amounts of cargo every year, handling around 9 million containers per year. While the maritime connections are, and will continue to be, incredibly important the Netherlands is looking to innovate and diversify its business landscape. This transition is evident in its shift from mainly focusing on traditional maritime activities to becoming a prominent player in sectors such as energy, technology, and life sciences. One of the most notable examples of this is ASML, one of the ever-growing semiconductor industry’s most important players.
Amsterdam's position as a potential new financial capital, especially post-Brexit, is incredibly enticing. The city's stock exchange (operated by Euronext) is one of the oldest in the world, and Amsterdam is rapidly transforming into a global tech hub. Driven by a well-established infrastructure, a multilingual workforce, and an open culture, the city is attracting a host of tech startups and international giants alike. When it comes to the investing climate, the Netherlands offers a compelling proposition with its strategic location in Europe and a highly skilled and multilingual workforce.