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The Netherlands, or Holland, is a relatively small country but it has so many successful international brands that it makes you wonder what the reasons are for this phenomenon.
Well, it is generally known that the economy of The Netherlands strongly depends on foreign trade and that it is a European transportation hub, just think of the Port of Rotterdam. But there is more to it. The Dutch companies extend their presence abroad, they greatly contribute to the European and American economy. Many Dutch businesses have made their impact on education, insurance and innovative, niche products.
As a proof of recognition for “all things Dutch,” there are many elements that are developed in the Netherlands and are included in educational standardized tests like this GED test used in the United States.
The Netherlands also is the home of many high tech and innovative companies. Highly sophisticated marketing allows many Dutch companies to take leadership roles in their fields.
Add to this the openness and pragmatism of the Dutch and you will have the answer to the title question, but let’s take a closer look at the key factors:
The Netherlands was host country for the international celebration of World Water Day (WWD). This year the event highlights water cooperation, and this theme was also the subject of the recent so-called Water Mission that resulted in signing up a collaboration agreement between the USA and The Netherlands.
Check also this video on 2018 World Water Day (March 18, 2018):
Shaun Donovan who chaired President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and Melanie Schultz, the former Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Environment, agreed to share knowledge and best practices. Donovan said. “The Dutch are no strangers to the forces of nature and I’m certain we can benefit from their experience in disaster mitigation, infrastructure management and a variety of approaches to sustainable community development and planning”.
Donovan is coordinating the rebuilding of areas in New York and New Jersey that were hit by Superstorm Sandy e few years way back and his task is hugely complex.
Dutch companies have always had a strong focus on innovation, the strong rise in innovative concepts in business cannot be denied. Recent discoveries and developments in new technologies, new products, and new services can be traced to the Netherlands. Check out this list of five ingenious Dutch innovations. They have been shaping new realities and meeting market needs for some time.
Akulon and Arnitel from DSM
DSM’s Akulon and Arnitel are two types of materials that are currently used in several Cradle to Cradle®-certified products, including the Herman Miller chair. Cradle-to-cradle, referred to as “closed loop” systems, share the goal that materials – including metal, paper, plastic, and even food – are recycled or find their way back into the natural environment.
DSM recently refreshed its corporate brand to reflect their innovative approach and achievements.
It is no secret that introducing new innovative products and solutions is challenging, and we all know that it’s people’s nature to hold on to the past and avoid what’s new and unknown. Yet innovation is rapidly becoming the lifeblood of the global economy.
Let’s take a look at what strategies Apple, DSM, and TenCate have used to promote their innovative products.
Apple: 2.2 million Apps Available In The App Store
Apple is known for bringing new revolutionary products to the market that seem to be instant hits. However, it wasn’t always like that. When Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, journalists and business consultants predicted that iPhone would end up nowhere.
The Dutch are real professionals when it comes to managing the power of water. If they would not have developed in the past a highly sophisticated water defense system for their country, a major part of the Netherlands would be under water. Just imagine that one-fourth of the country lies beneath sea level and the lowest point is 6.74 meters below sea level. For decades the Dutch developed sustainable solutions to fight the consequences of rough weather and climate change, resulting in the rise of sea level.
Today, many countries worldwide are challenged by these circumstances. Remember how Super Storm Sandy and other hurricanes affected the eastern seaboard of the USA. It is no wonder that many other countries are turning to the Netherlands for inspiration, guidance and specific expertise in water management. (more…)
Putting sustainability at the core of their business strategy and linking societal needs with business growth is becoming more popular between modern corporations. Michael Porter from Harvard University calls this approach creating shared values (CSV). This means that companies can grow their business and profitability while building sustainable, scalable solutions for societal challenges such as access to healthcare, education, and nutrition, but also to protective solutions, water management, and mobility.
I looked at how five well-known companies implement this new approach:
Three years ago Unilever set out the Sustainable Living Plan (Twitter #sustliving), a ten-year journey towards sustainable growth and improving people’s health and well-being. This plan addresses global challenges while contributing to Unilever’s business growth. A good example is the company’s global handwashing campaign sponsored by Lifebuoy, Unilever’s leading anti-bacteria soap brand. (more…)
The 2014 Hockey World Cup was held from 31 May to 15 June 2014 at the Kyocera Stadium and the GreenFields Stadium in The Hague, the Netherlands. The Kyocera stadium, home base of soccer club ADO Den Haag, received a temporarily new surface of artificial grass called GreenFields TX.
The story behind the development of this synthetic turf system (also known as artificial grass) is really interesting because GreenFields TX was created especially for the 2014 Hockey World Cup and involved a methodology called “validated learning” known as a new, very effective way of product development used in the lean startup movement.
The prestigious PANalytical Award was created in 2012 to encourage exceptional early-career researchers. At a time when formal research funding is becoming more difficult PANalytical took the initiative to present the winner with prize money of € 5000.
PANalytical is the world’s leader in the field of analytical instrumentation that recognizes materials by using X-ray technology. The techniques are typically applied in scientific research and for production control in industry. Previously part of the Philips organization, the company has been known by the name PANalytical since 2002.
TenCate was chosen by the Jupiler League as a vendor of synthetic grass for football fields only a few years way back.
It was big news from many perspectives, first of all, Dutch professional football was choosing synthetic turf instead of natural grass. Would other countries follow?
Secondly, the system that was chosen is the innovative matrix system from TenCate. This new system is based on a patented weaving technology as opposed to tufted techniques.
This is the first official synthetic turf system that combines optimal performance for players with sustainability, the pitches are fully recyclable. (more…)