Setting high standards in innovation

The Netherlands scored highly in the 2019 edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII). The index, which is collated by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), put the country in fourth place, after Switzerland, Sweden and the US. According to the GII website, the index “aims to capture the multi-dimensional facets of innovation and provide the tools that can assist in tailoring policies to promote long-term output growth, improved productivity, and job growth.”

Leading in innovation output

Examining 129 economies by 80 metrics, the GII is a leading reference for measuring an economy’s innovation performance. In this year’s edition, the Netherlands received top scores for innovation output, knowledge absorption, regulatory quality, online participation, collaboration between universities and industries and cluster development.

A history of game-changing inventions

GII describes innovation as “as a driver of economic growth and prosperity,” a statement that has proven true for the Netherlands over the centuries. The country has given birth to many inventions that are now considered commonplace, including the cassette tape, which was created by Philips in 1963. The company also played a major role in the creation of CDs. In fact, the size of the hole in every CD was based on the Dutch 10-cent coin.

Going back a few hundred years, the 1600s were a fruitful time for Dutch inventors. Businessmen and legislators in Amsterdam established the first stock market in 1602 and the first telescope was made in the Netherlands in 1608. And Dutch physicist Cornelis Drebbel created the first moveable submarine prototype (which was made of greased leather) in the 1620s while working for the English Royal Navy.

Dutch inventions have also played an important role in health and safety. Jan van der Heyden invented the modern fire hose in 1673 and also created an advanced water pumping system. In 1862, Herman Snellen designed a chart for eye tests featuring differently sized letters, a version of which is still used today. The Dutch also invented the speed camera to catch law-breaking drivers, something no one now thanks them for.

High performer

The Netherlands and the Amsterdam Area regularly do well in international business rankings, particularly when it comes to innovation. For more rankings and surveys positioning Amsterdam and the Netherlands in a global business context, see the overview of Amsterdam tech and startup rankings

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