Dutch Research and Development Funding – Part Two: How and Where for Internationals

Innovative opportunities in the Netherlands are in ample supply… Let’s take a closer look at what more the Dutch business world has to offer for budding entrepreneurs and start-ups. Beyond tax credits (as discussed in Part One) there are also internationally incentivized programs and hubs for innovation.

The Netherlands has a superbly well-coordinated position in the global innovation field, so the question is simple: how do you tap into it?

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 evolved out of its sibling project FP7 and has provided a similar function since 2014. For the 7 years that it is scheduled to run, there is a budget of €80 billion. The project is provided by the EU commission program, and aims at:

  • Continent-wide development in innovative solutions to pan-European issues and social challenges.
  • Boosting and fortifying scientific knowledge.
  • International innovation development.

Horizon makes contact with the Netherlands through the International Research and Innovation Cooperation (IRIS), which exists as a subdivision of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (NEA).


  • Be an organization or individual involved in international research, tech-development or innovation.


  • Funding
  • Support and recruitment of research
  • Diversify and improve access and communication to a large international network.
  • Increase access to expertise and knowledge.

So far, there has been a very high success rate for Dutch companies on this scheme. With an acceptance rate of 23%, the Netherlands has one of the highest acceptance rates in Europe.

Keep an eye out here for upcoming events in Europe that link to the EU Horizon Project.

Science and Innovation Parks

These entities sit at the heart of both commercial and academic innovation. Often linked to universities, science and innovation parks host multi-disciplinary institutions that facilitate specialized and innovative research.

While the Netherlands functions as a universal talent hub, with leading innovators in agriculture, marine-tech, and sustainable solutions, each of these institutions its own focus. Thus, when commencing a project that has a focused research orientation, it’s worth knowing which of these institutes offers the best facilities and opportunities for your particular field of work. For the leading locations and hubs, have a look at this list provided on the government website here (in English).

SME Government Guaranteed Loan Scheme (BMKB)

This is specifically for those setting up a business venture in the Netherlands or the Dutch Caribbean Islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius, or Saba.

  • Aimed at those who do not have sufficient collateral for a bank loan.
  • Dutch government guarantees loans through the BMKB.
  • Banks are more inclined to loan when then know part of the loan is guaranteed by the government.
  • Loans available up to 1.5 million euros.

Find out more here.

Dutch Start-up Visa

If you have an innovative idea and are looking to move to the Netherlands to materialize this concept, the Dutch Start-up Visa offers a one-year residency permit to do so.

This system encourages innovative business for anyone outside to boundaries of the EU, EAA, and Switzerland. If you meet the conditions, you may also be eligible for the R&D funding opportunities outlined in part one of this series.


This article has taken a magnified look at where to find assistive services for R&D opportunities both nationally and internationally. The purpose has been to outline to process involved once your venture is organized and planned. The next article in the series will have a look at the motivation, requirements, and steps involved in creating innovative solutions, along with some insider industry tips that will help you stand out.