In the last few decades, the Netherlands has grown into a leading digital gateway and data hub with the same economic characteristics as Schiphol Airport and the Rotterdam harbor. The digital sector drives 25% of the GPD and accounts for 20% of foreign director investments, according to the Dutch Data Center Association. Amsterdam is the second largest hub and hyper scale market of Europe, just after London.
Stijn Grove, director of the Dutch Data Center Association, states: “The digital infrastructure, with cloud, connectivity and data centers, is a crucial part of the online world on which we more and more depend on. It is the base of our new society and economy.”
The Netherlands has become a country of data centers and Amsterdam has become a major hub. In total, Amsterdam houses 47 multi-tenant data centres and 53 single-tenant facilities. Main centres are located in the Schiphol region, Amsterdam Science Parc and the South east part of the Dutch capital.
“The Amsterdam region (50 km radius) occupies a unique position because it is both a colocation hub and a hyper scale cluster. This exceptional combination makes Amsterdam the second largest market, just after London, with a market share of no less than 32%. Already the hyper scale campuses occupy an area of 72,000 m², the DDCA stated in a report.
And there is more to come. Nearly two millions of square feet of data center floor space are expected to be added to Amsterdam’s hosting portfolio ‘in the coming years’’, almost doubling the area’s current capacity. Google and Microsoft have built data centers in the north of the Netherlands (Delfzijl) and Middenmeer, in the province North Holland. Facebook, Uber, Twitter and major digital brands have chosen Amsterdam as a leading digital mainport to Europe. Dutch dot coms as Booking.com, Leaseweb, i3d, Takeway.com and Ayden grew into world leaders.
In the light of Brexit, Stijn Grove sees that there is a big change on the side of the suppliers. There is a growing demand of datacenters for location in the EU single market, with Amsterdam and Frankfurt as the winning cities. Especially for data center projects that are planned close to Brexit end date 29 March 2019. Suppliers from the UK are recently excluded, as it is unclear whether personnel is allowed to travel and work outside the UK.
In the Netherlands, we need to be aware that we need to maintain our top position as a digital gateway, Grove says. “We can make the difference as industry and public authorities work together. In 2021 over 50% of our GDP worldwide drives from digital activities so this is essential.” Other countries are working on tax measures to boost the business climate, especially regarding tax on electricity. Moreover, improvement of the energy distribution and generating green energy is needed.
Furthermore, connectivity remains important. Connectivity via data cables and carriers, connectivity via the AMS-IX, the second largest Internet Exchange in the world, and connectivity via the (cloud) ecosystem. “The active approach to help countries with sea data cable and the construction of transborder of cross-border data cables will improve the position of the Netherlands,” Grove says.
Last but not least: training of ’tech savvy’ personnel becomes more important. Great opportunities become available with tens of thousands’ vacancies for direct and indirect employment for a great future career in IT.