Globalization, Change and Policy in Asia and Europe
Edited by Charles Edquist and Leif Hommen
Chapter 9: Challenged Leadership or Renewed Vitality? The Netherlands
Bart Verspagen 1 INTRODUCTION The Netherlands national system of innovation (NSI) has deep roots in the history of the country. After having been, once upon a time, the world economic leader, the Netherlands has been forced to follow other countries in terms of technological developments, but it has done so with its own speciﬁc way of adapting to global developments. The result, by the end of the 1960s, was an NSI that operated at a high level of performance, hosting a number of global companies that played dominant roles in their industries at the world level. However, much has changed in the world economy since this period. Global competition has intensiﬁed, and the Netherlands system has felt this pressure from abroad. In 2002, foreign direct investment outﬂows from the Netherlands equalled 8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), and inﬂows 6 per cent. These ﬁgures are higher than those for any of the other European countries in this study (Sweden is second, with 4 per cent outﬂow, 5 per cent inﬂow). In addition, European integration has aﬀected the Netherlands system. As will be shown in this chapter, the Netherlands NSI has been severely challenged by this globalization process, and a few years into the twenty-ﬁrst century, one has to conclude that the system is losing momentum. Innovation performance indicators show a persistent downward trend, especially so in relative (to other countries) terms. The source of this relative decline also seems evident...
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