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Dutch tech innovator Philips is a major employer of international tech and management talent

There are few European companies with the history of innovation and staying power of Philips, the big electronics company based in Amsterdam. And during our few months building Dispatches in the Netherlands, there are few companies we’ve heard praised more passionately as a great place for expats to work … and as a great partner for entrepreneurs.

Most Americans think Philips – formally “Royal Philips NV” – is a “local” company because of the ubiquity of its products in the United States. But in fact, Philips started in the Dutch industrial town of Eindhoven. Or, rather, Philips transformed Eindhoven from a sleepy ancient market town to the tech hub it is today.

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FRITS PHILIPS

The history of Philips parallels General Electric, in a sense. Philips, like GE, started out in the early 20th Century literally electrifying the world. (Technically. Philips is one year older, founded in 1891. Though Edison Electric, the first iteration of GE, dates back to the 1870s.) Philips founder Anton Philips brought women from rural north Holland to Eindhoven in the south and taught them to use straws to inflate the glass light bulb globes. Or so we’ve been told many times as we toured what were Philips factories and offices in Eindhoven, now repurposed as apartments and co-working spaces for startups.

Anton’s son Frits built Philips into a multinational corporation. To illustrate the integrity of the Philips family, Frits Philips was honored by Yad Vashem as a “righteous” gentile, the term for people who risked all to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Before you assume Philips is an anachronism, it’s not. Philips – like GE – has reinvented itself over and over again. Philips is the company that invented the compact disc, the laser disc and many other revolutionary products. More than that, Philips has helped employees start multiple emerging high-tech companies including Eindhoven-based ASML, which owns the largest market share of the photolithography sector integral to making integrated circuits, as well as 3D printing startup Shapeways and countless others.

ASML was founded as a joint venture with Philips. Back in May, Shapeways founder Peter Weijmarshausen talked about how his company came out of Philips.

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THOUGH PHILIPS MOVED TO AMSTERDAM IN 2001, THE COMPANY STILL DOMINATES EINDHOVEN.

So, whether you’re an engineer, physicist or an entrepreneur in training looking for a European adventure, this is a great place to work. We tried to talk with Philips officials, who at least initially responded to our query. However, they never followed up with interviews. Oh, well, Dispatches is new ….

We really wanted to know how many expats Philips employs, though our contact there told us that’s likely proprietary information. We know from meeting a goodly number of them in Eindhoven that expats are a significant portion of the workforce. Perhaps the majority of talent working in the Netherlands is international including engineers and managers from the U.S., the United Kingdom, India, China, Africa and Europe.

One thing is for certain; Philips is always evolving … and always looking for talent. In fact, Philips is now two companies, having spun off its lighting division in May. So, potentially double the opportunities considering Philips Lighting is the largest independent lighting company in the world ranked by market capitalization. The move was to give the parent company more time and capital to focus on next-gen healthcare products, though Royal Philips retains a 70-percent ownership stake in Philips Lighting, according to Bloomberg.

We’ve aggregated a number of open positions from the Philips website, as well as from LinkedIn. Most of the positions are in Amsterdam, though Philips has operations in Eindhoven and across Europe. In fact, as of 2013, Philips had about 125,000 employees at 111 manufacturing facilities and 59 R&D Facilities across 26 countries, as well as sales and service operations in about 100 countries, according to Wikipedia.

For a clearer image of talent attraction, Philips has helpfully posted hiring data including new-hires charts on LinkedIn, which you can see here.

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Here’s a quick list of recently posted positions.

Operations Director Philips Foundation

Amsterdam Area, Netherlands

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