March 22, 2023

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It's not Royal anymore, it's not Dutch anymore: Shell leaves the Netherlands

It’s not Royal anymore, it’s not Dutch anymore: Shell leaves the Netherlands

Royal Dutch Shell shareholders will vote today on whether to move the head office permanently from The Hague to London. The expectation is that the oil and gas company will leave and therefore not return Royal Not like that anymore Dutch it will be. Hence, it is the second big name to leave the Netherlands after Unilever.

With this, the discussion about the business climate in the Netherlands begins again. The Netherlands did not do badly in the world rankings. But according to the VNO-NCW Business Association, that means looking in the rearview mirror, because these lists are made based on past performance. Assembly sent a Appears for informants.

“We are very concerned about the business climate. We receive many signals from companies that are questioning whether they will survive and whether they will continue to make their new investments in the Netherlands. This is partly due to the instability of government policy, significant regulatory pressure and negative sentiment against the business community. … I also often get asked from abroad what is happening in the Netherlands,” says Ingrid Thijsen, President of VNO-NCW.

Barbara Barsma, a professor at the University of Amsterdam, agrees. “The Netherlands should be more active in improving the business climate, including predictable government policy. Regulatory uncertainty is the death knell of, for example, sustainability investments.”


According to Parsma, significant pressures from the social debate may have played a role in Shell’s decision. “Shell is leaving mainly because one foot is already in the UK. But Shell’s sustainability agenda has been under pressure due to, among other things, the missing lawsuit against Milieudefensie.”

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According to Ba Ter Weil, Director of the Bureau of Economic Research SEO, considerations must also be taken into account in this regard. “Look at Schiphol: It’s pollution, but all those companies around it wouldn’t have been there without the airport. If a company established itself somewhere, it would have a flywheel effect.”

Because large companies that establish themselves in the Netherlands usually also provide more job opportunities, according to Ter Weel. The surrounding hotels or cultural facilities can also benefit from this.

Hence good facilities such as education, care and defense are important. Ter Weil: “We are in an affordable position in the Netherlands, but the basics have to remain the same. You can only achieve this with adequate tax revenue. And that comes from productive companies that employ people and innovate.”

No mass exodus

Professor Parsma believes that the departure of Unilever and Shell is a loss for the Netherlands, but according to her, there is no need to worry about mass corporate migration. “After all, not only or even primarily the Dutch business climate has played a role in Shell and Unilever, but Brexit because the two companies are both British and Dutch. Tax reasons will play a role in the choice between the Netherlands and the UK.”

Because for Unilever and Shell, dividend tax was the culprit. For example, Shell would have chosen the Netherlands in 2005, because the Cabinet had promised to abolish the dividend tax. But when it became clear that dividend tax would still apply, Unilever last year To move to London. paralyze Continued Maybe this example.

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You can see what profit tax is all about in this video: