chapter  4
26 Pages

Innovation in the Amsterdam Region

Since the early 1980s innovation has been an important topic of researchers and policy-makers in the Netherlands. The reason for this interest was the country’s economic sluggishness in the 1970s and early 1980s, referred to internationally as ‘Hollanditis’. Important political and economic choices needed to be made at the time. On the one hand, the post-war welfare state and levels of public spending had reached their peak. On the other hand, the economic crisis, only partly due to the oil crises, was wreaking havoc in the market sector. In 1982 public debt as a percentage of GNP reached critical levels. In the Netherlands the general cause of this crisis has been cited as tight regulation and the institutionalised position of the labour unions which had resulted in spiralling rates of wage growth and inflation.