ING Economics Department: high-tech industry bright spot in 2020

News | December 20, 2019

Innovations in the high-tech industry provide solutions for major social issues such as the climate problem, quality of life in cities and shrinking areas and healthcare. The at least 50 innovations per year from the Innovatiecluster Drachten companies prove this. The growth forecast by the ING Economics Department this week for the high-tech industry in 2020 is therefore a logical consequence.

"Developments in the high-tech industry follow each other in rapid succession," said Binne Visser, chairman of the collaborating high-tech companies of Innovatiecluster Drachten. “In addition, our eyes are on our industry for solutions to major social issues.” Visser cites renewable energy as an example for a solution to the climate problem. Resato International from Assen, together with partners for the Northern Netherlands, is taking the lead in the development of hydrogen as a sustainable fuel. And Whisper Power from Drachten has been working for years with hybrid generators for trucks, yachts and campers.”

Liveable and healthy

The scope of the ICD companies goes much further. To keep cities and shrinking regions liveable and accessible, they supply sensor technology, cameras and smart software. Visser: “And to keep healthcare affordable and available to everyone, ZiuZ in Gorredijk, BD in Drachten and Horus in Bedum are developing techniques to help doctors make diagnoses faster and more accurately than ever before. This way, a treatment can start at a very early stage of the disease, so that the chance of success is greater than before."

light point

In its report, the bank calls the high-tech industry a bright spot in 2020, where other sectors will have to deal with a cooling of the economy and tensions in international trade. According to Visser, the high-tech sector is less sensitive to the economic cycle and has shown stable growth for years. “Technology is always evolving, because the demand for better and smarter solutions never stops. In fact, due to digitization and the constant increase in process speed, solutions are now within reach that we could only dream about before.”


Although the Northern Netherlands is not aware of the tension in the labor market in the west, companies in Friesland in particular are noticing that it is becoming more difficult to recruit staff. Visser agrees that this is particularly noticeable in IT, according to the bank. “Until recently, IT companies did not have to worry about sufficient enthusiasm. Now these companies also have to step up their game to fill all vacancies quickly and properly. That is why we like to work with universities, colleges and ROCs on events such as and Engineering the Future, where the IT talents, operators and engineers of the Northern Netherlands come into contact with our companies.”


The ING Economics Department states in its report that with a production of approximately 146 billion euros in 2019, the technology industry is an important pillar of Dutch industry. After years of strong growth, the automotive and rubber and plastics industries in particular are experiencing difficulties. According to the report, entrepreneurs in the high-tech industry are positive about 2020, given their order position and the expected turnover. Read it here full report.