Here’s why ASML is hinting at leaving the Netherlands

What does this mean?

The Netherlands is known for many things: windmills, canals, and oh yeah, ASML. Now, the world-renowned company has hinted at moving its operations elsewhere — but why?

Let’s just say, it’s not as simple as the company wanting to “find itself.”

Who are ASML? ASML designs and manufactures lithography machines that help make computer chips — so you could be using the product of an ASML machine to read this article!

The main reason: ASML needs more staff

You’d think that with such a huge population in such a small surface area, the tech giant would have no problem finding sufficient staff for its operations, but it’s not that simple.

The company requires highly skilled technical employees to keep its wheels turning, and they can’t all be sourced among the Dutch.

READ MORE | 13 companies in the Netherlands that hire internationals in 2024

In fact, according to ASML CEO Peter Wennink, 60% of its employees come from abroad. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for ASML to find such international employees.

Why? According to the NOS, one reason is due to a change in the way international workers are taxed in the Netherlands.

The 30% ruling is on the way out

One huge benefit of working as a skilled international in the Netherlands used to be the 30% ruling.

As part of this ruling, highly skilled highly skilled and eligible expats could receive 30% of their income tax-free for five years.

READ MORE | 7 innovative Dutch projects for a sustainable future

However, as of 2024, this has changed. Instead, the amount has been reduced to 30% for the first 20 months, 20% for the following 20 months, and then 10% for the final 20 months.

In turn this means that fewer highly skilled internationals are encouraged to work in the Netherlands for companies like ASML.

However, it’s not just high taxes that are leading to problems for ASML.

Remember the housing crisis?

The struggle to find housing in the Netherlands is very real in 2024, and ASML employees are not immune to it.

READ MORE | Why is there a housing shortage in the Netherlands? The Dutch housing crisis explained

In fact, employees have been struggling so much to find housing that ASML has resorted to buying up housing and getting involved in housing construction projects to try and ease the crisis faced by its employees.

The result? ASML aren’t impressed

While ASML hasn’t outright announced that it will be leaving the Netherlands. It has been dropping some worrying hints.

In January, Winnink made a worrying remark:

“You see all kinds of movements that make it more difficult for internationally operating companies that need international talent, for example, to do business in the Netherlands.”

As a result, sources in The Hague tell RTL Nieuws that the outgoing cabinet has sprung into action.

A plan to prevent the company’s departure is being drawn up under the code name Beethoven. 👀

This doesn’t mean a complete departure

However, these hints don’t mean that there will be a complete departure of ASML from the Netherlands.

Jos Versteeg, analyst at InsingerGilissen tells RTL Nieuws that the company upping shop and leaving is “very unlikely.”

That being said, Jim Tehupuring, investment expert at 1 Vermogensbeheer, tells RTL Nieuws that he does see at least part of the company shifting to another country.

He just doesn’t know “whether that is 30% or 70%.”

Regardless of what the company decides to do, there is one thing we can be sure of: any move will take time. Years in fact, according to Tehupuring.

What do you think of ASML’s hints? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Before becoming the Senior Editor of DutchReview, Sarah was a fresh-faced international looking to learn more about the Netherlands. Since moving here in 2017, Sarah has added a BA in English and Philosophy (Hons.), an MA in Literature (Hons.), and over three years of writing experience at DutchReview to her skillset. When Sarah isn't acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her trying to sound witty while writing about some of the stickier topics such as mortgages and Dutch law.


  1. A perfect real-life example of how the bone-headed decisions this government makes affects the real-world citizens of the Netherlands. Time and time again I’m blown away by the policies Den Haag thinks will improve this country. ASML and other multinational companies will move out and with them thousands of jobs and economic benefit.

    • I think they’re doing it to please the people who hate foreigners, not to improve anything. Goodbye ASML. Goodbye economic advantage. Hello Brexit-style poverty.


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