Japanese innovation in the Amsterdam region

On 14 December, the winners of the sixth biennial Deshima Netherlands Awards were announced. These awards recognise successful Japanese investors in the Netherlands, and this year the newcomer award went to the Amstelveen-based MCLS Europe, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation Life Sciences Ltd.

MCLS Europe was established in Amstelveen in 2015, and is tasked with European marketing and sales operations as well as research and development activities. The company's products include specialised food ingredients such as yeast extracts, sweeteners and more, and these products are marketed throughout Europe.

The jury's report mentioned how MCLS Europe is striving to create healthier and tastier food, and help people live better lives. For example, MCLS offers solutions for reducing salt, sugar, and E-numbers, as well as solutions for increasing convenience and affordability. MCLS Europe also participates in the Food Valley NL innovation platform, which highlights its goal of becoming part of the food ecosystem in the Netherlands and establishing new partnerships.

A long history of Japanese-Dutch collaboration

The biennial Deshima Netherlands Awards are jointly awarded by the Dutch-Japanese Trade Federation (DUJAT) and the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA). Two prizes are awarded in each edition, with one going to a well-established Japanese company, and the other to a Japanese company that has recently invested in the Netherlands. The winning companies are chosen based on criteria such as their contribution to the economy and to society, as well as their role in Dutch-Japanese relations. Previous winners of the Deshima Netherlands Awards have included Canon, Fujifilm Europe and Hitachi Construction Machinery.

There are currently more than 450 Japanese companies registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, and together they employ more than 40,000 people. The Netherlands is the third-most popular European destination for Japanese companies, after Germany and the UK. Some of the Japanese companies that have settled in the Amsterdam area include Hitachi, Yakult, Casio, Yamaha, and Mitsubishi. The Amsterdam region also has a thriving Japanese community, and hosts a variety of Japanese cultural events such as the Cherry Blossom Festival, the J-Dream Cup football tournament and the Japan Festival.