The Netherlands is marketed as the digital gateway to Europe and is considered one of the most wired countries in the world. The country has consistently ranked first in the annual DHL Global Connectedness Index. The internet economy in the Netherlands is estimated to make up over six percent of the country’s GDP and is projected to continue to grow in the coming years. Nearly 100 percent of households have a broadband connection. The Amsterdam region houses nearly a third of Europe’s data centers. The country is home to one of the largest internet exchanges in the world, the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), and many large tech companies have chosen to base their European operations in the Netherlands. Consequently, cybercrime, digital espionage, and the disruption of online services is a major concern.
The Hague region has established itself as a cybersecurity hub over the past decade. The Dutch government recently established the Global Forum for Cyber Expertise in The Hague, which is already home to Europol’s European Cyber Crime Center (EC3) and the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency. It is also home to The Hague Security Delta, the largest security cluster in Europe, in which (cyber) security businesses, government agencies, and knowledge institutions cooperate. The Netherlands is becoming a European leader in FinTech, AgTech, and technology-based mobility solutions, boasting a sizable cluster of startups.
In 2018, the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) published an update to the 2013 “National Cyber Security Strategy.” Both documents outline the government’s long-term view on cybersecurity and set out concrete actions to combat cyber threats. The full reports (in English) can be accessed on the NCSC website.
Due to the difficulty in discerning cybersecurity spending from general IT spending by the public and the private sectors, there are currently no concrete figures on the size of the Dutch cybersecurity market. A 2019 report by the insurance provider Hiscox concluded that Dutch companies spend an average of roughly $1.9 million on cybersecurity annually. This figure is expected to grow in 2022. Dutch government spending on cybersecurity is also set to continue to grow in the years to come.
Opportunities in the Netherlands are similar to those in the United States and other advanced and highly digitalized countries. The Dutch are relatively early adopters of new technologies. U.S. cybersecurity firms generally establish themselves in the United Kingdom before entering the Dutch market and branching out further into the rest of the continent.
The NCSC’s 2022 “Cyber Security Assessment Netherlands” report highlighted four key issues related to cybersecurity in the Netherlands:
- Unauthorized access to information (and possibly its publication), in particular through espionage. Examples include espionage targeting communications within the central government or the development of innovative technologies.
- Inaccessibility of processes, due to sabotage and/or the use of ransomware or preparations for this. Examples include infiltration in processes that ensure the distribution of electricity.
- Breaches of (the security of) cyberspace, such as through the abuse of global IT supply chains.
- Large-scale outages: a situation where one or more processes are disrupted due to natural or technical causes or unintentional human action.
October 18-19, 2022
Annual conference organized by the National Cyber Security Center.
Alec Boydston, Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service – The Netherlands
Alec.Boydston@trade.gov | +31 70 310 2420