Dutch R&D expenditure passed 17.5 billion euros in 2019 – Brabant leader in private R&D

In 2019, companies, institutions and higher education in the Netherlands spent just over 17.5 billion euros on Research and Development (R&D). This is an increase of one billion euros compared to 2018. Brabant is a leader in private R&D expenditure. This is evident from new provisional figures from Statistics Netherlands on R&D and from regional economic indicators. These indicators are compiled on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

5 March 2021

In 2019, the expenditure of companies, institutions and higher education on R&D carried out with own and hired staff grew by almost 6 percent. Expenditure by companies rose the fastest at nearly 850 million euros, which is 7.7 percent. Institutions and higher education spent more in 2019 as well. Institutions collectively spent 1 billion euros and higher education nearly 4.7 billion euros. These increases were relatively smaller, with 3 percent for institutions and 2 percent for higher education.


The R&D intensity can be calculated by comparing R&D expenditure with gross domestic product (GDP). This R&D intensity amounted to 2.16 percent in 2019, therefore being stable for the Netherlands as a whole. In the period 2013-2019, the R&D intensity fluctuated moderately between 2.14 and 2.18 percent. Private R&D intensity, the expenditure on R&D by companies in comparison with GDP, was also stable in this period.

Brabant leader in private R&D expenditure.

Nearly 30 percent of private R&D expenditure in 2018 was accounted for by companies in Brabant. This was also the case in 2013. Within the province, the R&D activity of companies is greatest in Southeast Brabant, the region around Eindhoven. In 2018, more than 2.4 billion euros was spent on R&D with own and hired staff. In 2013 this was still 2 billion euros.

North Holland is in second place in 2018, accounting for 20 percent of private R&D expenditure. In 2013 this was still 17 percent. The Greater Amsterdam region dominates within North Holland. In 2018, approximately 70 percent of the R&D activities of companies in North Holland took place in that region.

South Holland is in third place in 2018 with 17 percent of all private expenditure on R&D, almost half of which is in Groot-Rijnmond and the agglomeration of The Hague. In 2013, South Holland took second place with a share of 20 percent. Expenditure in South Holland has remained fairly stable, while that of North Holland and the whole of the Netherlands have increased during this period.

Compared to the gross regional product, Brabant has stably the highest private R&D intensity in the period 2013-2018 at 2.8 percent. Limburg comes second in 2018 with 1.5 percent (1.4 percent in 2013). Private R&D intensity in North Holland rose in the same period from 1.2 to 1.3 percent and decreased in South Holland from 1.3 to 1.2 percent.


In Europe, Brabant ranks thirteenth of the 281 NUTS 2 regions in terms of private R&D intensity. The other Dutch provinces are not in the top 50, but the private R&D intensity in the Netherlands is slightly above the EU average. These data are the most complete for 2017, for 2018 there are no figures available yet for some R&D intensive regions.

In Europe, the two most R&D intensive regions in the business sector can be found in Germany, namely Stuttgart and Braunschweig. In third place is Västsverige in Sweden. The twenty regions with the highest private R&D intensities in Europe in 2017 are all located in Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands or Norway.

Source: CBS