Den Haag – ‘The Counts’ Hedge’
Den Haag (or The Hague) is the third-largest city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Situated in the west of the country, Den Haag is part of the Randstad metropolitan area and the provincial capital of South Holland.
The city covers a total area of 98 square kilometers and in 2021 was estimated to have a population of 549,163 people with a density of 6,523/km2 (16,890/sq mi). According to government figures compiled by the Municipality of The Hague in 2021, 246,633 (43.8%) of the population are Dutch nationals, while the remainder comprises other Suriname 46,346 (8.70%), Turkey 40,064 (7.52%), Morocco 31,455 (5.91%), Indonesia 17,635 (3.31%), Poland 14,094 (2.65%), Dutch Caribbean 13,218 (2.48%) and Other 123,116 (25.63%).
Den Haag is the seat of the government of the Netherlands and home to the country’s parliament. The city is also famously the de facto judicial capital of the United Nations.
The municipality of Den Haag is run by a dualistic government comprising the Municipal Council and the Municipal Executive, whom both have distinct roles. The Municipal Council represents the residents, sets policy framework, and is responsible for decision making and supervising the Municipal Executive. The city’s current mayor is Jan van Zanen who was elected in 2020.
Den Haag’s Economy
The Hague region had the top-performing economy versus other areas in the Netherlands. Although the economy of The Hague is dominated by government administration, the municipality also enjoys several dynamic industry sectors, including creative services, life sciences, retail, aerospace, oil & gas, and telecommunications. Also of paramount economic importance are the banking, insurance, and trade sectors.
As the constitutional capital of the Netherlands, the city is the seat of the Dutch legislature and home to the Supreme Court, the International Court of Justice, and many foreign embassies. Thus it is widely regarded as the “International City of Peace and Justice.” Alongside the UN, the city has over 130 international institutes and agencies that are both NGOs and government institutions, including Eurojust, European Police Office, NATO NCI Agency, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and Iran-United States Claims Tribunal.
Large-scale heavy industry has never been established in The Hague, but some manufactured clothes, metal goods, printed materials, and food products are produced.
The city also hosts the headquarters of many leading international businesses such as AEGON, APM Terminals, ING Investment Management, Shell plc (Royal Dutch Shell), Schlumberger, Siemens A.G, T-Mobile, and TNT Post.
Den Haag’s Infrastructure
The Netherlands ranks as the third-highest country in terms of the quality of its basic infrastructure. As one of the country’s most important cities, Den Haag is no exception, offering exceptional infrastructure that is the result of substantial investment over past decades.
The city is linked to other major conurbations and neighboring countries by a network of well-maintained motorways, railways, and waterways. Major motorways that connect the city include the A12 (which runs to Utrecht and the German border), A4 (to Amsterdam), and the A13 (which runs to Rotterdam and Belgium).
The city center operates a modern and efficient public transport system that consists of trams and buses that run over 30 routes. Den Haag also has two main railway stations; Den Haag Hollands Spoor (HS) and Den Haag Centraal Station. Both stations offer frequent regional and international services to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Paris, and Brussels.
Den Haag is served by both Rotterdam’s The Hague Airport and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Both Airports operate scheduled flights to other main domestic and international destinations like London, Madrid, and Prague.
Den Haag’s Workforce
Internations.org statistics in 2016 estimated Den Haag’s labor force at around 272,000. Leading industry employers include government administration, transportation, business services, finance, health and welfare, and trade.
According to official core statistics released in 2016, the labor force is predominantly Dutch, although there are significant proportions of Surinamese, Turkish, Moroccan, and Aruban people. Dutch is the most widely spoken language, although the West Holland Foreign Investment Agency in 2016 estimated that 78% of the population spoke English as a second language.
The city enjoys a highly skilled and educated workforce that results from a well-developed education and training system. The Netherlands enforces compulsory education for all children aged 5 to 16 years, and the South Holland region in particular also enjoys a significant proportion of young people enrolled in higher studies.
Den Haag has many universities and postgraduate institutions, one of the most renowned being The Hague University of Applied Sciences. The university was founded on September 1st, 1987 (the result of merging 14 higher educational institutions) and today boasts a student population of over 25.481 (2014), 1,700 staff members, and a reputation as a leading center for knowledge, economics, legal and administrative authority.
Den Haag’s Business Costs
The Netherlands offered foreign businesses the cheapest location in Europe in terms of Business costs, ranking third globally behind Mexico and Canada. The study looked at the cost of setting up a new company alongside running costs over ten years.
The Netherlands individual income tax rates work on a partly progressive scale of 0%-52%, with four tax bands. Residents are required to declare their worldwide income and not just what was earned within the country.
In terms of corporate taxes, the Dutch government has set the standard CIT (corporate income tax) rate stands at 25.8% as of 1 January 2022 (25% in 2021), making it one of the most competitive European markets and an attractive place for companies and investors.
The Netherlands also enjoys a far-reaching tax treaty network comprising more than 80 countries and provides extensive benefits to residents.
The standard VAT rate in the Netherlands is 21%, while a reduced VAT of 9% can be applied to food, agriculture, and other essentials while specific sectors are exempt.
In 2021 the Netherlands set a minimum wage of € 1.745,00 per month (an increase from € 1,680,00) or €436 per week for adults aged 21 and older and over engaged in full-time work.
The Netherlands offered competitive location costs versus other major European cities, with an average office rental cost in Amsterdam of €423.53/sq.m per year and in Rotterdam CBD €423.53/sq.m per year.