Holland expat roundup: Eindhoven city hall invites entrepreneurs to free pop-up workspace

A couple of weeks ago, Dispatches was in Stockholm at Motel L when we noticed a big sign in the lobby announcing the hotel was not just offering startups pop-up office space to work every day, but throwing in office supplies and free coffee as well!

That grassroots effort to woo startups seems to be spreading across Europe, including the Dutch high-tech capital of Eindhoven. Which we’ve been telling you for a year could morph into the next Silicon Valley.

Eindhoven invites entrepreneurs to MEET @ CITY HALL


MEET @ CITY HALL space at Eindhoven City Hall.

(Editor’s note: We just got back from inspecting the MEET @ CITY HALL space, and we’re happy to report it’s great. The dedicated workspace is on the ground floor and – as promised – includes a coffee corner. Lots of users and activity, but not too loud to work, as the barista pointed out. We give it 5 stars.)

Last week, Eindhoven city officials announced the Eindhoven Town Hall is now a pop-up co-working space, open to everyone to use for free.

Eindhoven Alderman Mary Ann Schreurs (personnel, organizations and innovation), announced the shared workspace concept under the title of MEET@CITY HALL. Students, entrepreneurs and officials can use flexible workspace, play a game of table tennis during breaks and, of course, do what startup entrepreneurs do best … meet. A barista will create fresh coffee and treats. Seriously ….

MEET @ CITY HALL is scheduled for a 3-month run, but the pop-up office space could be rebooted if there is demand.

Hours are the government’s normal work hours – 0900 to 1730, and reservations are not necessary, according to a news release.

Alphabet (Google) CEO Eric Schmidt to hosts at Startup Fest Europe: You suck



Speaking at Startup Fest Europe in Amsterdam last month, Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt didn’t spare his hosts’ feelings. “It’s too difficult to start and scale-up a company in Europe, mainly due to government policies,” Schmidt said on stage. Pointing to a “zillion” rules, he said it’s still “much harder to be an entrepreneur in Europe than it is in the U.S. — both in a regulatory [sense], tax policies, the amount of time it takes to create a firm, and so forth and so on.”

For good measure, he added: “What happens when I meet with governments is they all say ‘yes,’ and they listen very politely. They’re always very nice. Europeans are always very polite. And then they don’t do anything about it.”

To make certain he infuriated everyone equally, Schmidt took a dig at Europe’s university system, according to multiple media reports.

“Let’s start with the universities in Europe. We hire incredibly smart people (who) come out of the European universities. Universities themselves are underfunded relative to the American universities, by a lot.”

One can’t help but wonder if Schmidt and other American tech CEOs are bashing Europe because Silicon Valley wants to keep stealing European talent and because they see increased competition on the horizon, especially in fintech.

VentureBeat: Netherlands a VR hotbed

(Editor’s note: This was originally posted on the InvestinHolland, the Netherlands’ economic-development website.)

VentureBeatPhoto-700x385In a recent VentureBeat article, “The Netherlands is a serious hotbed for virtual reality content,” contributor Amir-Esmaeil Bozorgzadeh, managing partner at Gameguise, suggests Holland could be the newest global epicenter for virtual reality (VR): a market estimated to be worth $30-40 billion by 2020.

To date, there are approximately 30 VR startups in Holland. The article credits the Netherlands’ rapidly growing VR cluster to the country’s supportive startup environment, which offers resources such as Amsterdam’s THNK – School of Creative Leadership, Dutch VR Days, the Dutch startup visa and collaborative co-working spaces, like VR Base.

Bozorgzadeh notes that after experiencing all that Holland has to offer in the VR space, his own decision to move to the Netherlands was “unavoidable.” He also states that the Netherlands’ focus on innovation and adaptability will continue to position the Dutch as leaders in the world’s next technology frontier.

New SGE health care center for internationals opens at Eindhoven’s High Tech Campus

SGE has opened its eleventh primary health care centre, SGE International, catering to the needs of Eindhoven’s large expat/international community.

The new facility is in the Videolab at Strijp S, Eindhoven. For new arrivals, or the uninitiated, Strijp S (pronounced “stripe ess”) is a huge former Philips Electronics complex that’s being redeveloped into a creative-class center with housing, retail and offices.

All caregivers are trained in dealing with people from various cultural backgrounds, according to a news release. Next to providing primary health care, SGE is working together with psychologists and psychiatrists specialized in working with this target group, such as PsyQ Mental Health Services. And a lot of us know how tough it can be to be an expat.

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The health care offered by SGE International meets Dutch NHG Standards and Guidelines for Primary Health Care and acknowledges the contract opportunities of (health) insurers in the Netherlands.

From the release:

An estimated 30,000 people with an international background reside in the Eindhoven region. A large part of these internationals do not feel at home when it comes to the Dutch health care system. “Confidence in doctors, especially the General Practitioner is very low”, Irene Martens of SGE International says. “Surveys have indicated that only 32 percent of Internationals trust their general practitioner, which is extremely low compared with the 85 percent amongst Dutch nationals. The symposium has been organized to create greater awareness of this health care gap amongst stakeholders, employers, administrators and health care providers.”

Internationals are used to health care systems where direct access to medical specialists is common, SGE found out. In addition, non-Dutch patients are more used to doctors being more proactive through preventive diagnosis as well as more likely to provide medication and antibiotics than Dutch doctors. There can also be cultural differences, and there is almost always a language barrier, though English is the lingua franca of Eindhoven’s tech world.

Eindhoven hosts International Festival and I Am Not A  Tourist expat fair

The Expat Hub in Eindhoven is hosting the International Festival & I Am Not A Tourist fair on Sunday, 12 June.

I Am Not a Tourist will feature 50 exhibitors who will help expats with housing, employment, banking, insurance, tax and education, alongside various workshops, according to a news release. The Expat Spouse Career Event is also running an event for expat partners looking for a career or volunteer opportunities in the Netherlands. Tickets are free online or 5 euros at the door. The International Festival starts at 12.00 and will have international/expat performers, a market, entertainment for children and workshops.

Dutch minister Henk Kamp pledges to liberalise wage rules for startup, entrepreneurs

Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp announced recently that the Netherlands is reserving 27 million euros to give entrepreneurs a minimum wage in the first three years of running a company. This is a big deal in the Netherlands, which in some cases requires entrepreneurs to pay themselves 55,000 euros per year … a laughable concept in the U.S. startup world, where no one gets paid initially.

Now those salaries can be converted back into capital invested in the company, Kamp said during the opening day of Startup Fest Europe.

The minister also promised to invest another 23 million euro in startups and SME’s, together with corporations. “It is my goal to get The Netherlands in the Top 5 startup countries worldwide,” he said.

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