The geography of “Brain Business” in Utrecht and the Netherlands

Brain Business in Europe
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Utrecht stands at the 12th spot taking into consideration all brain business sector jobs per 1,000 working age population.

In the Netherlands, the number of employees of the most knowledge-intensive firms has grown from 761,600 in 2012 to 891,200 in 2019. Out of the 129,700 new Brain Business Jobs, 40 percent have been created in ICT, 31 percent in advanced services, 18 percent in the tech sector and 11 percent in creative professions. The Netherlands has a higher concentration of Brain Business Jobs than all the major European economies, including the United Kingdom and Germany.

Compared to the rest of Europe, the Netherlands has a number of strengths. The main strengths lie in R&D as well as head offices & management. In these two areas, the concentration of Brain Business Jobs is two times the European average. No country has as high concentration of employment in research and development as the Netherlands. Closely following Belgium, the Netherlands has the second highest concentration of head office and management employment in Europe. On the other hand, the Netherlands lags behind the rest of Europe when it comes to areas such as pharmaceuticals, high-tech manufacturing, telecom and IT services.

Amsterdam has 211,000 individuals employed in Brain Business Jobs, corresponding to 12.4 percent of the working age population. The highest concentration is however found in Utrecht, where the 101 700 Brain Business Jobs amount to fully 13.3 percent of the workforce. Utrecht has a higher concentration of Brain Business Jobs than most European regions, including Oslo, Berlin, Helsinki, Brussels and Vienna.

The Noord-Brabant region, with 116,600 Brain Business Jobs (7.9 percent of the working age population) and Zuid-Holland with 167,000 Brain Business Jobs (7.7 percent) are other strong regions. The lowest share is found in Zeeland, with 7,500 Brain Business Jobs corresponding to 3.5 percent of the workforce. The challenge for the Netherlands is to expand knowledge-intensive occupation in regions that are currently under-performing. If Brain Business Jobs instead continue to concentrate, significant regional inequality might arise.

The table below presents a list of European cities which rank highest on the Brain Business index

Rank Region All brain business sectors, jobs per 1,000 working age population
1 Bratislava 189.6
2 Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire 178.6
3 Stockholm 178.0
4 Prague 177.7
5 London 173.1
6 Paris 166.6
7 Budapest 164.7
8 Copenhagen 149.4
9 Hamburg 146.8
10 Oberbayern 142.5
11 Prov. Brabant Wallon 136.0
12 Utrecht 132.8
13 Oslo 128.0
14 Amsterdam 124.2
15 Bucharest 122.9
16 Darmstadt 121.6
17 Köln 112.9
18 North Eastern Scotland 112.6
19 Berlin 111.6
20 Helsinki 107.6
21 Brussels 107.6
22 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire 107.5
23 Madrid 107.0
24 Surrey, East and West Sussex 106.3
25 Vienna 105.4
26 Stuttgart 103.0
27 Sofia 101.4
28 Cheshire 101.3
29 Hampshire and Isle of Wight 99.0
30 Mittelfranken 92.3
31 Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath area 91.3
32 Ljubljana 91.2
33 Karlsruhe 91.1
34 Prov. Vlaams-Brabant 88.6
35 Lisbon 86.4
36 Luxembourg 85.2
37 Västsverige 84.2
38 Iceland 80.4
39 Tübingen 80.2
40 Noord-Brabant 78.9
41 Warsaw 78.9
42 Prov. Antwerpen 78.5
43 Düsseldorf 77.6
44 Sydsverige 77.6
45 Greater Manchester 77.2
46 Zuid-Holland 76.9
47 Bremen 75.7
48 Comunidad Foral de Navarra 73.5
49 Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire 72.8
50 North Yorkshire 70.5

Click here to download the full report: The Geography of Europe’s Brain Business Jobs: 2020 Index by Dr. Nima Sanandaji

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Michael Darmanin

Michael is founder and managing editor of Utrecht Central. He graduated in Communications and Media at the Hogeschool Utrecht in the summer of 2012. He specializes in Web Development, Content Management and Online Marketing. Interested in co-operation? We are open to all kinds of suggestions. Contact us!

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