The Netherlands has risen two places in the Global Competitiveness Index published by the World Economic Forum.
The Netherlands is now in 5th place, behind Switzerland (1st), Singapore (2nd), (3rd) and Sweden (4th). The Netherlands continues to progress in the rankings, moving up to 5th place this year from 9th place in the ranking in 2009.
The improvement reflects a continued strengthening of its innovative capacity as well as the heightened efficiency and stability of its financial markets. Overall, Dutch businesses are highly sophisticated (4th) and innovative (9th), and the country is rapidly and aggressively harnessing new technologies for productivity improvements (9th). Its excellent educational system (ranked 5th for health and primary education and 6th for its higher education and training) and efficient markets—especially its goods market (6th)—are highly supportive of business activity. And although the country has registered fiscal deficits in recent years (5.0 percent of GDP in 2011), its macroeconomic environment is more stable than that of a number of other advanced economies. Last but not least, the quality of its infrastructure is among the best in the world, reflecting excellent facilities for maritime, air, and railroad transport, ranked 1st, 4th, and 9th, respectively.
Despite these challenges, several European countries continue to feature prominently among the most competitive economies in the world. As described above, six of them are among the top 10. In total, ten are among the top 20, as follows: Switzerland (1st), Finland (3rd), Sweden (4th), the Netherlands (5th), Germany
(6th), the United Kingdom (8th), Denmark (12th), Norway (15th), Austria (16th), and Belgium (17th).
More info at The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2012 – 2013