Working visit to consider the Netherlands as a leader in the digital economy

Published on: Tuesday 23 September 2014

On the 23th of September a party of members of the Netherlands’ lower house of parliament, their personal assistants and representatives of the organising bodies (the Foundation for Internet Domain Registration in the Netherlands (SIDN), Google, the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), the Dutch Hosting Provider Association (DHPA) and LeaseWeb) paid a working visit to EvoSwitch AMS1.

The Netherlands has a strong and extensive hosting industry and a relatively good climate for start-ups in the on-line sector. Furthermore, in the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) we have the biggest internet hub in the world. So the working visit was arranged to inform the MPs about the opportunities open to the Netherlands in the international digital economy. The visit was also envisaged as a platform for the exchange of ideas about the challenges that exist in the field of policy, legislation and regulation if the Netherlands is to retain its leading role. And what better location for a gathering to talk over such matters than that most tangible symbol of the Netherlands’ digital economy: EvoSwitch AMS1?

The internet: the Dutch economy’s third main port

Working visit participants were able to hear about how the internet works. There was also discussion of the Netherlands’ international role, and of the impact of legislation and regulation on the start-up climate and confidence in the digital economy. Late last year, Deloitte published the findings of research undertaken for AMS-IX, DHPA, Rabo and ECP. The investigation indicated that the Netherlands’ digital infrastructure is effectively the nation’s third main port, after Schiphol airport and Rotterdam seaport. The internet’s importance to the Dutch economy was also underlined by the World Economic Forum’s Global Enabling Trade Report 2014, which praised the Netherlands’ digital infrastructure. The WEF ranked the country’s facilities the third best in the world.

The Netherlands’ digital infrastructure sector is clearly a global leader, competing with London and Frankfurt. Features such as the open and neutral nature of the Dutch internet services market make the Netherlands an attractive base for companies active in the sector.

Guided tour makes the internet tangible

A guided tour of the data centre let the visitors see just what proposed legislation would mean in practical terms. A window was opened on the world of next-generation data centre infrastructure. All participants were enthusiastic about the working visit, which was a real eye-opener for those never before privileged to see the extraordinary hidden world behind the internet. The organisers, with Maarten Simon representing SIDN, were able to look back on a successful day.

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