More research and innovation at Dutch companies


In 2014, Dutch companies and research institutes spent over 13 billion euros on research and development (R&D), up 3 percent from 2013. Companies and higher education institutes increased their spending on R&D while public research institutes spent less. R&D expenditures in the Netherlands in 2014 amounted to 2 percent of Dutch GDP, just as in previous years. The number of companies innovating also has increased in recent years, according to Statistics Netherlands.

R&D expenditure by sector

Dutch industry largest investor in R&D

In 2014, Dutch industry accounted for the highest expenditure on R&D with 7.4 billion euros. These are mainly larger companies: 60 percent of R&D spending is by companies with more than 250 employees. 

Companies in the manufacturing industry are most active in R&D, accounting for 59 percent of the expenditure, while the services  sector takes up 35 percent of total R&D expenditure.  A noteworthy fact is that only a quarter of manufacturing companies spend money on R&D versus more than two thirds of companies in the services sector.

Corporate R&D expenditure by sector, 2014

Half of all companies innovating

Companies do not need to perform R&D in order to be innovating. Between 2012 and 2014, 47 percent  of all companies were innovating, an increase compared with the period 2010-2012 (38 percent). This increase was largely due to technological innovations to improve the production process. On the other hand, there was hardly any increase in product innovations.

Nearly 17 thousand companies completed one or more technological innovations during the period 2012-2014, up 7 percent from the period 2010-2012. In addition, more companies are in the process of on-going  innovations than previously. However, the number of companies which discontinued the innovation process also increased.

Number of companies with technological innovations