Utrecht once again one of the most competitive regions in Europe


Utrecht is once again at the very top of the most competitive regions in Europe. The European Commission has stated that Utrecht is in joint second place after London, and has received higher scores than areas such as Paris and Frankfurt. The index uses more than 70 indicators. These cover topics such as innovation, accessibility, digital infrastructure, education, health and employment.

“We would like to extend our gratitude to all the residents, entrepreneurs, teachers, scientists, caregivers and everyone else who has contributed to this marvellous achievement. Creating an excellent living, working, and investment climate in the aftermath of the economic crisis is a truly wonderful result of our combined efforts. This makes the region unique and highly competitive,” said King’s Commissioner Willibrord van Beek of the province of Utrecht.

“We are sitting on a goldmine and together we are able to seize the opportunities this provides. This recognition from the European Commission gives us the encouragement we need to move onwards and upwards. The world keeps on changing. There are huge challenges ahead in the labour market and in terms of the rapid advances in digitization and technology. Our joint commitment to a healthy urban environment will help us face these challenges head on and remain successful,” says Mayor of the City of Amersfoort, Lucas Bolsius.

Mayor Jan van Zanen of Utrecht says: “We will work to make the Utrecht region a living lab where you can find answers to questions such as how to successfully combine a fast-growing economy with a green living environment. Creating a global export product.”

Labour market

The European Commission says that the Utrecht region is among the European top performing regions in the areas of education and employment. In order to stay at the top, investments will have to be made in the years to come in terms of making sure that the skills of the workforce continue to match what is needed in the labour market. This includes increasing Utrecht’s appeal to foreign talent. A greater influx of students enrolling in IT programmes is also necessary in order to stay competitive.

Innovation as an engine of growth

The Utrecht region has a young workforce, excellent scientists, a strong service economy and close cooperation between government bodies, businesses, research institutions and educational institutions. All of this combined ensures that Utrecht continues to do extremely well and is getting high scores in the area of inventing and applying new technologies. The Utrecht region offers businesses plenty of space to devise new solutions for a healthy urban environment, to test their theories and introduce their solutions to the international market. Prime examples in this region include Merus, Genmab at Utrecht Science Park, 2Getthere, Energyworx, FocusCura, Energetika and Lomboxnet.

Previously obtained research scores

In the two previous editions of this study, Utrecht came in first place out of a total of 263 regions. This edition’s figures are based on the years 2014 and 2015, in which the Netherlands and the Utrecht region felt the reverberations of the economic crisis.