AI in the Netherlands is booming: A Techleap.nl 2021 report found that 10% of all registered AI start-ups worldwide are based in the Netherlands. The nation has the highest density of AI start-ups per capita in Europe.
In addtion, there are a number of relatively young Dutch AI companies that have been in business for a number of years and while they may no longer be considered start-ups, are still growing rapidly and have ambitions to transform the way business is done in sectors including finance, heathcare and agriculture.
The Dutch government has recently ramped up efforts to encourage AI development. In October 2019, the government launched the Strategic Action Plan for AI (SAPAI), a roadmap aiming to position the country as a global AI powerhouse. A key part of the government’s plan is stimulating AI entrepreneurship by increasing access to venture capital and “innovation credits,” loans up to €10 million (US$11.7 million) that support high-tech and high-risk projects. The initiative is boosted by the Dutch AI Coalition, a public-private partnership created to boost the AI ecosystem with €276 million in its first phase.
As AI enablers like cloud-based infrastructure, increased access to data, and VC funding become more accessible to entrepreneurs, forms of AI such as machine learning and deep learning (a subset of machine leanring) are set to become a part of every industry over the next decade.
“I’m already interested to see what the machine learning field will look like in five years,” says Tom de Vries, image analysis engineer at live-cell imaging start-up CytoSMART. “There are so many new techniques with different kinds of models that use a computer capable of doing millions upon millions of calculations every second. What was impossible five years ago is achievable now. The technology has become so much stronger.”