In an in-depth feature article in the weekend edition of the Financieel Dagblad, the paper highlighted Groningen’s growing attraction for businesses and entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley.
Translation by Traci White
The FD spoke at length with several Silicon Valley-based entrepreneurs, including Michiel Prins, one of the founders of cybersecurity company HackerOne. The company is regularly hired by tech businesses to deliberately hack their security systems in order to improve them.
Prins lives in San Francisco, which is where the ethical hacking company has its headquarters, and regularly visits the company’s Groningen branch on the Stationsweg. “I see new businesses have opened every time I come here, and I hear more English spoken on every visit. It’s perfectly easy to find qualified employees. Amsterdam is more expensive, and a lot of people really enjoy Groningen.”
IBM’s local director Johan van der Stel told the FD that the company deliberately chose to open their Groningen branch in the heart of the city rather than on the outskirts in light of the lifestyle of their young employees. “We want to attract more young people here, and they want to be able to bike to work.” The branch currently employees around 300 people, including 32 different nationalities, and has discussed plans to further expand to 400 staff.
Although the city of Groningen has long had the reputation within the Netherlands of being a place where students leave as soon as they get their degree, the FD article points out that the tide is turning as job opportunities grow in the region. The Groninger Internet Courant cites recent figures from the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics which found that Groningen has recently experienced 3.1 percent job growth, which is double the national average. The province of Groningen also has more internet economy jobs on average than anywhere else in the Netherlands.