The Utrecht Region has once more reached the absolute pinnacle of Europe’s most competitive regions. According to the European Commission (EC), Utrecht is ranked equal second, close behind London and ahead of regions such as Paris and Frankfurt. The index was compiled on the basis of over seventy indicators. These relate to topics including innovation, accessibility, digital infrastructure, education, health and the labour market.
“Thanks to all residents, entrepreneurs, teachers, scientists, carers, and literally everyone who assisted us in achieving this leading position. This is a splendid result for all, achieved as a result of close collaboration in our efforts to create an excellent residential, working, living and investment environment, during the aftermath of the economic crisis. This makes our region both unique and extremely competitive,” says King’s Commissioner for the Province of Utrecht, Van Beek.
“We are sitting on a goldmine, and are becoming increasingly adept at reaping the benefits together. The European Commission’s recognition has given us the boost required to proceed energetically on our current course. The world is constantly changing, after all. And we still face considerable challenges, such as our labour market and the far-reaching digitisation of society. Our joint commitment to healthy urban living should nevertheless set us in good stead to successfully tackle these challenges,” says Mayor Bolsius of the Municipality of Amersfoort.
Mayor of Utrecht, Jan van Zanen: “We are turning the Utrecht Region into a living lab, designed to yield solutions to the issue of how a rapidly expanding region like ours might successfully combine good health, a flourishing economy and conservation of our green living environment. A new export product.”
According to the Commission, the Utrecht Region is among the European leaders in the field of education and the labour market. In order to retain this position, however, considerable investments will have to be made during the next few years, to ensure that the skills of Utrecht’s working population adequately match labour market demands. The same applies when it comes to rendering Utrecht attractive to talent from abroad. Furthermore, a higher level of enrolment in IT courses is essential if we are to remain competitive.
Innovation as a driver of economic growth
The Utrecht Region has a young working population, its scientists possess excellent knowledge, while the economy is highly service-based, and its local authorities, businesses and knowledge & educational institutes collaborate closely with one another. These factors enable Utrecht to perform particularly well in the field of both the development and application of new technologies. The Utrecht Region also offers ample scope for businesses to devise new solutions for a healthy urban lifestyle, then validate, swiftly apply and introduce them to the international market. Flagship firms in this field include Merus, Genmab (based at the Utrecht Science Park), 2Getthere, Energyworx, FocusCura, Energetika and Lomboxnet.
Previous scores in the index
In two previous editions of the index, Utrecht achieved scores which put it in first place, among all 266 regions participating. This latest edition is based on figures accumulated during the years 2014 and 2015, a period in which the Netherlands in general and the Utrecht Region in particular were still affected by the aftermath of the economic crisis.
Economic Board Utrecht