Why pick a smaller software company in the Netherlands?

Blog  — Mon 1 May 2023

Potential clients sometimes ask why they should consider a smaller software company as well. While I always address this in a focused and detailed way, in this blog I want to discuss a more macroscopic perspective in general. So let's look at some numbers as a starting point.

The digitization of the Netherlands in dry figures

By the end of 2022, the Netherlands had 2,325,141 businesses registered with the Chamber of Commerce.

Research conducted by CBS (Central Bureau of Statistics) showed that by 2020, nearly 75% of Dutch companies with 10 or more employees had a website. For companies with fewer than 10 employees, the percentage was 54%.

According to CBS, by 2020 about 98% of Dutch companies with 10 or more employees had computers in use. For companies with fewer than 10 persons employed, the percentage was 83%.

Also, a 2021 CBS study found that 90% of the Dutch population aged 12 and older use the Internet. The same study indicated that nearly 80% of consumers who are active online use the Internet to seek information about products and services.

According to a 2020 survey by Computer Profile of Dutch companies with more than 50 employees, 56% of the companies surveyed indicated that they use standard software solutions, while 19% use custom software. The remaining 25% use a combination of standard and custom solutions.

Small but powerful: the true nature of Dutch software companies

As you can see, Dutch society is quite digitized. From consumer to entrepreneur and government. From accountant to webshop and hospital. But where does all this Dutch software come from? According to CBS, in 2021 there were about 121,000 ICT companies in the Netherlands, of which about 15,000 companies focus specifically on software development. A small part of these are large "software factories" but most of these are smaller companies.

We can say that the majority of software companies in the Netherlands are small and medium-sized companies with fewer than 50 employees. This is supported by the fact that, according to CBS, about 95% of ICT companies in the Netherlands have fewer than 50 employees. But how big is an average software company then?

On average, software companies in the Netherlands have about 8 to 10 employees, but this can vary greatly depending on the size of the company. If we leave out the very largest software companies, the average number of employees per software company in the Netherlands will be lower than the overall average of 8 to 10 employees. It is difficult to give an exact average number of employees because it depends on which companies you include and exclude and in which period you measure.

How the sum total of smaller software companies keeps the Netherlands strong in the IT sector

The Netherlands is strong in IT. A few giants seem to define the skyline from afar. Yet the strength of Dutch IT companies lies in the fact that very many smaller ones together form a larger stronger whole. The Dutch IT sector is therefore more like a herd of gazelles, with each gazelle playing an important role in the collective usefulness of the herd to its environment.

So are you looking for software or maybe even custom software solutions? Then don't shy away from looking beyond the big giants in the industry. The smaller companies in particular stand out with their expertise and personal attention. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, they offer solutions that seamlessly fit your specific needs and requirements.

After all, with 15,000 software development companies, the full face of the Dutch IT landscape is revealed. And it is mainly thanks to the smaller companies that this overall landscape is shaped, not just by a handful of tall buildings.