Robotics is an enabling industry that offers new opportunities in both industry and the service sector, a sector that is growing in both numbers and fiscal worth.  Though Japan is statistically the world leader in robotics production, the Netherlands leads the way in robotics innovation in Europe.

According to a study from Zion Market Research, the global industrial robotics market was worth about $41.7bn in 2021, with growth continuing. Additionally, the market sector is predicted to enjoy growth to around $81.4bn by 2028.

In Europe, Netherlands robotics companies are among the most innovative and successful, making it an attractive proposition for potential robotics company relocations or start-ups.  

Though the region has not previously been associated with the robotics industry, the number of companies operating out of the Netherlands has changed that.  

Combining innovation and industry, the Netherlands robotics industry has become a global leader across the sector, harnessing innovation to drive production.  

As robotics companies Netherlands-wide continue to emerge, this new technology is becoming more used and more versatile. 

By connecting the two, we get a better insight which topics are most promising for the Netherlands to create jobs and business opportunities for the Netherlands.  

When we look at whether the Netherlands is a good place to start a robotics company, it is important to examine the value proposition that presents itself.  

Education and innovation driving Netherlands robotics business 

Thanks to the proactive collaboration between business and government in this sector, opening a company is actively promoted through the foreign network of the Netherlands government to generate awareness and leads for potential investors, industry leaders and robotics entrepreneurs. 

Setting up any business requires a plethora of factors to align. When considering whether the Netherland is a good place to start a robotics business, highlighting and identifying the network of potential innovation partners is a good place to start. 

Having access to the latest innovations in robotics often includes corporate-education collaboration, and the Netherlands is ideally placed in this respect for those looking to start a robotics company in the country.  

There are four technical universities in the Netherlands, a group of institutions that are collectively known as the 4TU, an influential and pivotal element of the robotics industry in this region.

Each of these intuitions excels in the field of robotics research, and collaboration with companies across the Netherlands is increasingly seen to drive innovation and production.  

Netherlands robotics collaborations leading the way

In areas that include agro-robotics and medical robotics applications, the Netherlands is increasingly leading the way in both innovation and production. 

When we look at the overall position and prosperity of robotics companies and research in the Netherlands a positive picture emerges.  

Robotics professors Maarten Steinbuch (Eindhoven University of Technology), Stefano Stramigioli (University of Twente), Eldert van Henten (Wageningen University) and Martijn Wisse (Delft University of Technology) are all leaders in robotics innovation. 

As experts in their field who offer years of experience that shape their perspicacity on robotics, they position Netherlands robotics companies as genuine leaders in agro-robotics.  

This informed endorsement alone gives a boost to those asking whether the Netherlands is the right location to start or invest in a robotics company.  

An example of this leading role is the University of Twente’s particular area of expertise in pipeline inspection and advanced MRI-compatible medical robots. 

“In several countries, high-level research is being conducted into the new generation of intelligent robotics,” Wisse says. “The Netherlands is one of these breeding grounds.”

Robotics companies in the Netherlands landscape

Across the Netherlands there are numerous robotics companies, from cutting-edge start-ups to innovative but established brand names.  

This sector landscape gives potential new robotics companies an idea of the scale of the industry, as well as the potential for success.  

These companies in include names such as Zoolt, Segron, Invert Robotics and Accerion, to name a few.

Starting and developing robotics companies in Brabant

When it comes to robotics companies in the Netherlands, Brabant is one of the most important high-tech hubs in the country.  

As robotics and AI become more mainstream across their applications, the region has become home to industry leaders and innovators.  

For those considering the pedigree of the Netherlands as a location for starting a robotics company, Breda Robotics is a textbook example of how success can be enjoyed. 

The company was established in 2018 as a soi-disant smart industry field lab that is positioned between being a fully fledged company and a school.  

As mentioned previously, the successful collaboration between industry, education, and research companies and institutions is showcased by Breda Robotics, connecting students and teachers with businesses and entrepreneurs to expand the use of automation technologies.  

Creating this hybrid learning environment to share experience and expertise within Brabant’s tech ecosystem is something that not only continues to deliver success for robotics companies in the Netherlands, and Brabant in particular, it also underlines the reason this is an ideal place to start and grow a robotics company.  

Chantal van Spaendonck is the director of Breda Robotics and is helping to build a robotics cluster in West Brabant. “We really want to inspire and motivate other companies and organisations in the region of West Brabant to start working with robotics and other industry 4.0 technologies,” says van Spaendonck. 

“For new business, we can also help some start-ups in the robotic business to develop and see if we can provide them with an environment where they can start their company. So, they don’t have to do it in a garage at home. We also want to develop an experience centre and experiment centre.” 

An integral part of Breda Robotics’ mission is to engage with the next generation of tech pioneers and encourage school pupils to pursue a career in robotics and automation. 

“We show the students what cool projects we have in the region, so they get inspired,” adds van Spaendonck. 

Breda Robotics sponsors three teams in the FIRST Tech Challenge, where students aged between 12 and 18 years old build and design robots that compete against others in a series of challenges.  

The programme brings together a diverse set of skills, ranging from the obvious, such as coding, electronics, and metalwork, to the less obvious, such as graphic design and public speaking.  

All team members have an opportunity to use and develop their existing skills while often gaining new ones. 

“We also help those students and motivate them to pursue technical studies and stay in the region to work on exciting projects,” says van Spaendonck.

As well as the already established robotics companies in the Netherlands, the number of emerging trends in robotics also contributes to the country being an attractive location for companies to open.  

New technologies such as handling information by analysing increasingly large amounts of data, artificial intelligence, variable impedance actuators, and the extreme connectivity through the Internet of Things (IoT) are all on the rise in real-world applications and across a wide range of sectors and industries.  

The impact of these burgeoning trends on the development of the robotics industry and the innovation involved are creating marketplace opportunitues for robotics companies in the Netherlands and beyond.  

With the emergence and advancement of new innovations that include collaborative robots, swarm robots, autonomous unmanned vehicles, high end drones and even advanced traditional robots, the market for both companies and consumers is ever expanding.  

Put simply, the Netherlands robotics industry is enjoying fiscal growth, driven by cross-sector collaboration, making it a potentially prosperous and certainly attractive proposition when considering locations to start a robotics company.  

Information, statistics and estimates are from Eurostat, Statistics Netherlands, CBS Netherlands, Official Brabant, Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA).