The Netherlands remains one of the top performers across Europe, with solid and steady digital growth
Based on data prior to the COVID – 19 pandemic, the Netherlands ranks 4th out of 28 EU Member States in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). DESI is an index that benchmarks EU countries on relevant digital indicators such as connectivity, human capital and integration of technology. It tracks the evolution of the EU as a whole and its member states in digital competitiveness. According to DESI 2020, the Netherlands remains one of the top performers across Europe. The country shows solid and steady digital growth. The study highlights that the Dutch network functions excellently in COVID – 19 times despite the peak load.
The current COVID – 19 pandemic has shown how important digital assets have become to our economies. It shows how networks and connectivity, data, AI, and super computing sustain our economies and societies. Equally important are the digital skills that tracks the spread of the virus and accelerates the search for a vaccine.
High-quality digital infrastructure
According to the DESI 2020, the Netherlands is a frontrunner in Europe in connectivity. Nearly 100% of households have access to broadband internet and the Netherlands continues to perform excellently in terms of mobile internet. The high-quality infrastructure with several fixed telecom networks and three mobile network providers ensures solid connectivity.
The Netherlands is focusing its future efforts on 5G applications in vertical industries (Internet of Things) as key drivers for future communications technologies. Especially in sectors as mobility, agri / food, and health. 5G pilots have started in all regions of the Netherlands and the national action plan aims at uninterrupted 5G wireless broadband coverage in all urban areas, as well as on major roads and railways, by 2025.
Strong human capital in the digital age
According to DESI, the Netherlands ranks 4th among EU countries on Human Capital and well above the EU average. The Netherlands ranks among the best – performing countries with the highest percentage of inhabitants who have above basics overall digital skills. The number of IT specialists has increased slightly and is also above the EU average. One of the key principles underlying the Dutch Digitalization Strategy, is equipping everyone with the right skills and competences. This will boost the Netherlands’ ambition to become Europe’s digital frontrunner.
Committed to improve digital technologies
Secretary of State Mona Keijzer (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate) highlighted the importance of continuous training of technical personnel. In addition, she underlined the focus on renewing the mobile networks and to use the possibilities of AI for digitization.
The DESI study shows that the Netherlands is committed to advancing new digital technologies. It is investing strategically in digital technologies thanks to joint initiatives with the EU. The Netherlands signed EU declarations on the European Blockchain Partnership, Cooperation on Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing Infrastructure. For example, the Dutch Strategic Action Plan for Artificial Intelligence (2019) includes specific measures to encourage companies to adopt AI and other digital technologies. It promotes access to innovation financing for start – ups through early – stage financing and the Innovation Credit, making it easier to access to risk capital.
Fit for the digital future
Looking forward, as regards the DESI indicators that are especially relevant for the economic recovery after the COVID – 19 crisis, the Netherlands is well placed to make use of the opportunities offered by digital technologies.