More firms relocate to the Netherlands to avoid post-Brexit uncertainty

A view of the canal in Amsterdam

A view of the canal in Amsterdam - Credit: PA

The number of companies moving to the Netherlands because of Brexit remained consistent in 2020, despite foreign investment falling by a quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Amsterdam topped the list of favoured Dutch cities by companies looking to relocate, after it overtook London as the largest trading hub in Europe last month.

The Dutch capital has lured in companies in trading and finance, medicine and agriculture, as well as logistics and distribution looking to secure their European operations, the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency said on Thursday.

The agency said 78 "Brexit" companies moved to the Netherlands last year, the same number as in 2019 lifting the total since the 2016 Brexit referendum to 218.

Another 550 firms are in discussions with the agency about a relocation or an expansion in the Netherlands, up from 425 last year.

The 2020 arrivals are expected to generate a combined 6,000 jobs and 544 million euros (circa £470m) of investments in the first three years, the agency said.

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They include British companies, but also businesses from America and Asia that are shifting European operations.

"Not only are the amount of contacts continuing to grow, the number of Brexit companies that have opted for the Netherlands is also increasing," the agency said in a statement. "In effect, the uncertainty of recent years has not disappeared."

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This comes after Michel Barnier last week blamed Brexit trade chaos on No 10.

He said Downing Street had failed to "correctly explain" the consequences of leaving the EU single market to British businesses.

Reacting to criticism of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Barnier said: "The difficulties on the island of Ireland are caused by Brexit, not by the Protocol,” adding that “the Protocol is the solution”.

"Many of these consequences have not been correctly explained, they have been generally underestimated," he said.

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