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Start a Business in the Dutch Water Sector

Updated on 19 February 2024

Holland is a global leader in water management. Over the years the nation has perfected its means for flood protection, water treatment and supply. The Dutch are maritime engineers and build ships, including utility vessels and superyachts. Their expertise is needed all over the world. The Netherlands is the main supplier of systems for sustainable water supply and production, and reintroduction (after collection and treatment) of “waste” water. In the sector, there are several significant engineering firms operating globally. The Water Partnership and other platforms in the Netherlands encourage international collaboration. The sector is mainly focused on continuous innovation and export.

If you plan to establish a business in the Dutch water sector, please, contact our agents in incorporation. They will give you more information on the investment opportunities and the procedures to establish a company in the Netherlands.

Water is an indispensable part of the local culture

The delta’s water is both life-threatening and lifesaving. This is why the water industry is perhaps the most fundamental to the Dutch character and culture. The sector is focused towards three primary areas: delta, maritime and water technology. They are directed towards land protection, energy generation, smart water recycling technologies and efficient, safe ships. The water expertise in the Netherlands is one of the best worldwide.

Five reasons why Holland handles water challenges well

1. Water takes a significant part in the Dutch history and life

Water is inextricably bound to the prosperity and history of the nation – it is a part of its DNA. Vast parts of the country were reclaimed and 2/3 of its territory would flood regularly if there were not complex interconnected systems of surge barriers and dykes in place.

2. The water technologies in the Netherlands safeguard the environment and water

The booming economy, urbanization and climate changes are threatening delta populations all over the world. Luckily the Dutch are experts in hydraulic engineering, foundation infrastructure and technology, flood protection and flood control. They are famous with their design of levees and search barriers, land reclamation through high technology dredging and engineering of entire harbours and coastal areas. The nation is also renowned for its river maintenance and engineering. It is at the forefront of climate-adapted construction that allows the building of houses in areas at risk of flood.

3. Expertise in water treatment

The Dutch sector of drinking water is owned publicly. Drinking water is supplied by 10 semi-public companies. Municipalities are responsible for the management of the system of sewers while 25 regional governmental water boards deal with wastewater treatment at a municipal level. Many local companies specialize in industrial wastewaters treatment, while several consulting bodies are world-famous for their expertise in water treatment.

Holland has been using innovative techniques for treatment of wastewaters since the 70s. Almost all households in the country have clean drinking water entirely free of chlorine. Furthermore, much of the industrial water is recycled so efficiently, that it may be even used in beverage and food production.

Meanwhile billions all over the world do not have access to sanitary facilities and clean water. In this respect, Dutch technologies can really make a difference. High-quality integrated cycles of water collection, filtration and recycling are in place to facilitate sustainability and economic development.

4. Solutions for integrated management of waters

The Netherlands is famous for its multidisciplinary approach to integrated management of waters that balances economic, social, engineering and environmental needs (“Building together with Nature”).

Dutch companies work on projects for the development of urban agglomerations at low elevations (e.g. Bangladesh and Jakarta), as well as on coastal development (Vietnam, Romania and Dubai).

5. Investments in R&D

Academic institutions and private companies invest considerable amounts of money in development and research related to water. This has led to many innovations if fields like filtration. Many investments in R&D and innovation go to private-public partnerships. Some of the collaborators are famous institutes of the rank of MARIN, Deltares, KWR and Wetsus. The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research and some big private companies are also renowned for their developments in the water sector. The investments have already led to innovations such as water purification under anaerobic conditions, membrane technology, Annamox technology, and small-scale high-quality membrane bioreactors.

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