Netherlands: Leading the charge in Europe

So subdued has infrastructure activity been in Europe that, in last year’s equivalent ranking, not a single European nation figured in our top ten. This time things are a little different and the region’s shining light is the Netherlands.

Wim Blaasse, managing partner at Dutch fund manager DIF, recently told us: “The Netherlands is one of the most active markets in Europe at the moment. It was very slow when we first looked here ten years ago but finally the market has arrived, which is good news for us.”

Specifically, the Netherlands has committed itself to developing a steady flow of public-private partnership (PPP) opportunities – and, according to many observers, has made a very sound job of it. Andy Matthews of 3i Infrastructure commented in a recent interview that the Dutch public authorities have been “very focused and very determined with a well-structured procurement process and a visible pipeline”.

Perhaps key to the flourishing PPP environment is a sense that deals have worked well for public and private alike – unlike in other markets, questions have generally not been raised about value for money. As a result, despite the modest size of the economy, more projects are expected to come forward in areas such as roads, canals and sea locks.