An article this morning on how the startup ecosystem in the Netherlands is starting to lag seriously. This is not entirely true; many sectors are quite leading, but the clumsy yet sacrosanct metric of money raised is subpar.
That being said, I could explain why I never bothered to attend a startup event in Amsterdam for the past five years: a lot of buzz and fizz, very little substance. In this sector, the Dutch are often good at hyping things American-style. Events, communities, and networking are everywhere. But beyond the surface, nothing much.
And yet, in the Netherlands, the universities of Wageningen (foodetch, agtech) or Delft (robotics, automation) are the real tech leaders. They don’t command Amsterdam-grade buzz levels within the country but are rock-stars in their sector for non-Dutch actors. This creates a huge dissonance with the real action in smaller cities, further from the center and capitals with much money to “attract the best talents” (sigh) that can’t share the light.
Sounds familiar to my friends in Paris, Madrid or Berlin? You bet! This is the disease of every European capital that wants to model the US and can’t seem to remember that the Berkely is Berkely because it never was New York or, worse, Washington.