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OECD Territorial Reviews: Netherlands 2014

image of OECD Territorial Reviews: Netherlands 2014

The Dutch economy has been traditionally very competitive among OECD countries. The global financial crisis however has brought new challenges, especially during the second shock, from 2011 onwards. The government’s recovery plan, which includes various measures such as fiscal consolidation, stimulating innovation and sub-national government reform has an important territorial dimension. This review focuses on how sub-national institutions and development can help the Netherlands meet its challenges. In the short-term, factors such as the contribution of all regions, better use of resources, and more efficient provision of goods and services can help the recovery. In the long term, improving national competitiveness will largely depend on a strong performance of the polycentric city structure, which characterises the Netherlands. The key policy areas explored in this review include: the recently created top-sector innovation policy; decentralisation; and territorial reforms such as municipal and provincial re-scaling through mergers or co-operation.

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Exploiting policy complementarities for regional development in the Netherlands

The decision of the Dutch government to discontinue the Peaks in the Delta policy in 2010, represents the end of any explicit support for spatial economic development and overarching national framework for regional development policy. Similarly there is no explicit and overarching national urban policy framework. There are currently several policies affecting the regional level: the Top Sector Policy; the National Policy Strategy for Infrastructure and Spatial Planning; the regional development plans developed at the provincial level; and the EU programmes. There is a danger of disconnecting the regional and local development agenda from a comprehensive national vision of regional development. A key challenge for a successful territorial development policy will be ensuring that the various policies having an effect on the development of regions make the most of potential complementarities.

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