Another high ranking for the Netherlands

The Netherlands has re-entered the list of the top five most competitive countries in the world after a 15-year absence, according to the 2017 IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, published by Swiss business school IMD.

The Netherlands rose from eighth place in 2016 to fifth, joining the ranks of Hong Kong, Switzerland, Singapore and the United States. The boost was a result of the Netherlands’ strengthening economy and improved business and government efficiency, said IMD senior economist José Caballero during a presentation of the Yearbook.

Bolstered by the country’s social flexibility and high levels of education and skill found in the workforce, Caballero continued, the Netherlands is well-positioned as a premier gathering place for international ideas.

The Netherlands: a leader for the digital future

For the first time, the IMD World Competitiveness Center – the research group that carries out the study – has published separate rankings for digital competitiveness. The World Digital Competitiveness Ranking, which used data from the general report as well as new criteria, placed the Netherlands among the top 10, landing in sixth place overall.

The World Digital Competitiveness Ranking was based on three pillars: knowledge, technology and, “most importantly” – according to IMD director Arturo Bris – future readiness, or the “ability of the country to embrace transformation.”

The Netherlands excelled in future readiness, ranking third in that area – its business agility and ICT integration were touted as strengths, especially in regards to public-private partnerships. The country also ranked highly for its funding of technological development and communications technology framework.

Though the physical infrastructure and overall preparedness is important, “[future readiness] comes much more from the culture, the values, the agility of companies and the overall intangible infrastructure of the country that makes technology something easy to embrace,” Bris said.

The IMD World Competitiveness Center has published its rankings each year since 1989. The rankings, this year including the separate digital rankings report, are based on 260 indicators that include hard data and statistics as well as thousands of responses from an Executive Opinion Survey.