Communication is Key to Doing Business

There is no shortage of Dutch businesses in Russia today with the Netherlands one of Russia’s top three trade partners in the world.

| By Roland Oliphant

Russia and the Netherlands geographically could not be more different. Russia spans nine time zones and has a population of some 140 million, while the Netherlands is crammed onto a littoral plain smaller than the Moscow region, and its population of 16 million is only slightly larger than that of the Russian capital. But somehow, the Netherlands has made itself one of Russia’s top  three trade partners (between January to April 2010 it was even number one), accounting for 10 percent of Russian trade turnover.

Dutch companies have been pumping investment into Russia in recent years — $11.6 billion in 2009, making up 14.2 percent of all foreign investment in Russia. Traditional Dutch business such as the export of flowers, Daff trucks and produce make up part of that, as do large global firms like Philips, but there is also a huge number of other businesses who are trying to exploit the mood and trend of the moment, the need for modernization and a need for Dutch technological skills.

“As a small country, the Dutch are used to adapting themselves to other countries and other cultures. Take two steps and you’re out of the country — if you want to do business in Holland, you have to do business internationally,” says Jeroen Ketting, founder and managing director of the Lighthouse Group, which provides business support, management services and strategic advice to many Dutch companies in Russia. “What Dutch business brings to Russia is know-how, effective processes, optimization of businesses and profit,” says Ketting. “That is where Russians often see the added value of Dutch business people.”

Read the full article in the Moscow Times here.

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