Simon Kloppenburg, TopDutch’s campaign manager, is an advocate for the north’s status as an appealing region for investment. His role is to ensure that foreign companies become familiar with the benefits of the attractive business climate in the North, and representatives of the three northern provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe all share the ambition to become the go-to the region for green companies engaged in the transition in all fields.
“TopDutch is the economic brand of the three Northern provinces. In the North, we are already leading the way in transition, and then ‘TopDutch’ is a wonderful flag under which we can show what the North has to offer,” Kloppenburg says.
TopDutch gained notoriety a few years ago as the organisation behind a campaign to bring a Tesla factory to the North. The province of Emmen made it to the final three candidates, but the company ultimately chose to set up shop in Germany in 2019.
Since then, things have been quiet around TopDutch, but it was the proverbial calm before the storm: in the meantime, ambitious plans have been developed for the Northern Netherlands to profile itself as the leading Dutch region for transition-focused companies under the TopDutch brand.
“We have plenty of space and clean air, and the knowledge and talent from the universities and other knowledge institutions here in the North. Moreover, many top companies are already located here that are working on the transition in the agricultural sector, energy, including hydrogen, green chemistry and water technology.
For these companies, the North is an ideal area to develop, and the same is certainly true for foreign companies that want to establish themselves in the Netherlands. With TopDutch, we want to focus on those foreign companies that are at the forefront of the transition and everything to do with sustainability. In particular, we are looking for companies that complement what we already have here, and those that are the “missing link” in our chain of companies,’ says Kloppenburg.
TopDutch’s new focus is not about bringing massive companies like Tesla to the region, but rather on qualitatively interesting companies with the potential to grow further here. The North has a lot to offer these companies, and in turn, these companies have a lot to offer the Northern economy investments as jewels in each other’s crowns.
“We are pleased that so many parties in the North are rallying behind this new mission of TopDutch. Thanks to their cooperation, the three northern provinces can also be greater than the sum of their parts. Together we are strong, and together we have an awful lot to offer”, Kloppenburg says.
The TopDutch campaign’s subtitle is “Naturally Leading To Transition”. “That summarizes exactly what we’re doing: on the one hand, we are interesting for companies that are engaged in the transition in numerous ways, from energy to agriculture; and on the other hand, we are a region which is practically suited by naturefor these kinds of companies.”
TopDutch takes inspiration from Silicon Valley in its campaign, in the sense of its reputation as a hub for innovative, high-tech companies in the U.S. That’s what TopDutch sees as the future of the north: the preeminent region in the Netherlands for companies working on smart ways to achieve the energy transition.
According to Kloppenburg, it’s not about the north trying to bring as many jobs here as possible. Instead, it’s about attracting the most valuable companies, however small they may be. That’s also because of the reality that space is starting to become scarcer in the North, making it necessary for our region to be a little more critical, too.
Specifically, TopDutch will focus on increasing brand awareness of the North, supporting acquisition activities, and striving for an ever-stronger sense of togetherness here in the region.
“I really appreciate that we also cooperate with existing companies in the North, and other institutions like Founded in the North”, so it is a very broad-based campaign.”
After months of preparation behind the scenes and a completely new approach, Kloppenburg is eager to get to work with TopDutch. Prior to joining the campaign, he worked on global promotion for Curaçao International Airport. “That’s where I learned to work together with many stakeholders and how you can worktogether to contribute to the socio-economic development of a region. I think it’s a fantastic challenge to be able to do the same in the North now – not only for the North, but also for myself. I see promoting activity around the theme of the energy transition as a great opportunity’.
‘In the north, there is this mentality of putting your money where your mouth is, and put up or shut up. That’s why I’m convinced that together, we will succeed in building a stronger, future-oriented and sustainable economy here. The North is the future, in a beautiful and clean environment!”, Kloppenburg says.
Photo courtesy of TopDutch
This interview was originally reported in Dutch by Hans de Preter (Groningen Internet Courant)
This story was made possible through our content partner, TopDutch. TopDutch is the economic region of the Northern Netherlands, spread across the three provinces in the north of the country: Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe. We offer a home for your innovative business, ecosystems to support your ambitions and a community of like-minded talents to enable your growth.
In the TopDutch region, government agencies, knowledge institutions and the business community work together to create green and digital solutions to global challenges and to encourage talent to grow big.