Top Sector Life Sciences & Health

Focus country


A mission to China: the largest trade mission of Prime Minister Rutte ever

When they came together in a huge ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton in the South China city of Guangzhou, the Dutch trade delegation was so big this time that they hardly fitted together on a group photo. 'It is the biggest trade mission that I have ever led as prime minister,' says Mark Rutte. 'At the trade dinner tonight, we will welcome six hundred guests. It is really huge.'

It is the biggest trade mission that I have ever led as prime minister.

Prime Minister Rutte

 From the 9 to 14 April 2018 the Dutch Embassy in Beijing, theDutchConsulate in Guangzhou, the Dutch Consulate in Chongqing, NBSO Chengdu, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and the Task Force Health Care organised a Life Sciences & Health (LSH) programme as part of the economic trade mission to China.

In total, 29 organisations and institutions, ranging from innovative product developers to universities and even clinics and inbound medical travel organisations participated in the LSH programme. Led by Minister for Medical Care and Sport,Bruno Bruins, the Dutch delegation enjoyed a five-day programme throughout China. A large number of field visits and seminars in Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu provided excellent opportunities to meet new relevant business contacts, learn more about the Chinese LSH sector and foster Chinese-Dutch partnerships.

The presence of Dutch and Chinese high-level representatives also provided an excellent opportunity for some participating companies and organisations to sign agreements with their Chinese counterparts. TFHC Partner Ziuz Medical for example,has signed a distribution agreement for China with DIH Technologies Co. DIH is a strong partner for them with an impressive track record in pharmacy automation in China. Together ZiuZ and DIH will help to make medicine dispensing in China safer and more efficient.

Another example is Maastro Clinic, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Chinese counterpart for the training of medical specialists and staff in radiotherapy. The high level of knowledge and expertise of MAASTRO medical specialists and years of experience in training radiotherapist oncologists, clinical physicists and radiotherapeutic laboratory technicians are reasons for the Chinese to choose MAASTRO as a training institute.

Many opportunities for Sino-Dutch cooperation in the field of LSH are being sown and harvested in these fruitful times, with China being a focus country for the Top Sector LSH and another health delegation (elderly care) already flying out to China at the beginning of May.


Economic Mission to one of the fastest growing healthcare systems in South America

Colombia and the Netherlands are no strangers, and the Netherlands has a warm and active relationship with policymakers and decision-makers in the Colombian health sector. Over 25 organisations from the Kingdom of the Netherlands participated in the highly interactive healthcare track with hospital visits, seminars and an overflow of matchmaking appointments.

After the kick-off meeting and an informal meet & greet with Secretary General Erik Gerritsen, the LSH delegation visited the high-tech Valle de Lili University Hospital (third best hospital in Latin America according to the ranking of AméricaEconomía magazine) in Cali where they were given a tour of the diagnostics, trauma and integrated medical centre.

Despite the expansion of high-quality private hospitals and the growing healthcare system, Colombia has remote and scattered areas with worrying health indicators. The country is, therefore, striving to increase quality health services to rural health areas with projects such as MIAS. On the second day of the mission, the LSH delegation visited the Hospital Raul Orejuela Bueno Palmira rural health post where they listened to a presentation about the successful MIAS project. The Comprehensive Health Care Model (MIAS) is reported to have made historic improvements in health indicators in the province of Guania, such as access to health services increasing from 17% to 79% and zero maternal death. This model can be replicated in other regions of Colombia according to Public Hearing on the Implementation of MIAS.

After the visit to Hospital Raul Orejuela Bueno Palmira, the LSH delegation had a meeting to discuss potential collaboration opportunities with Mr Sarmiento Angulo's team at the state-of-the-art Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo Cancer Treatment and Research Center. Mr Sarmiento Angulo is considered to be one of Colombia’s most prudent and wealthiest entrepreneurs. His Cancer Treatment and Research Center is promised to have approximately 280 beds and will be opened in 2021.

The final day of the mission in Bogotá was quite memorable as almost all 160 participants attended the interministerial dialogue on the subject of “Strategies to Improve Health Sector Quality“ with Dutch Secretary-General Erik Gerritsen and Colombian Vice Minister Mr Iván Gonzalez.

The successful economic mission included great interaction, inspiration and networking opportunities.

We established a large number of contacts and of course connecting with people is one of the key things during missions.

Bart Scheerder, UMCG


eHealth and elderly care mission to Rhineland Palatinate and Saarland with a royal touch

The Dutch business delegation was formed by 25 organisations who were eager to learn more about the two German states and to network during the mission that took place from 10 to 12 October.

 One of the German states, Rhineland-Palatinate launched the "Gesundheit & Pflege 2020" programme aimed at connecting outpatient and inpatient care. The biggest challenges include demographic changes (ageing), securing good care, maintaining small rural hospitals and safely using eHealth. Naturally, there was a well-balanced mix of innovative Dutch eHealth and elderly care organisations in the business delegation, such as Active Cues, Sensara, Zo-Dichtbij and VANAD Group, who were all keen to present their smart solutions.

The mission was particularly special due to the presence of Minister Sigrid Kraag, Minister Hugo de Jonge, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima. They also attended the trade dinner and the visit to Saarland University Medical Center (SUMC) where a cooperation agreement was signed between Logis.P and SUMC in the presence of the royal couple.

Besides the visits to Caritas (largest care organisation in Germany), the IKK Experience Center, the Saarland University Medical Center and Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software, there were also workshops, networking opportunities and individual matchmaking.

The power of networking during the mission can be best captured by one moment. At Caritas, one of the Dutch participants, Active Cues, pitched his smart solution “Tovertafel” to a group of invited German participants. The ‘“Tovertafel Original” is a fun care innovation that connects elderly people in the late stage of dementia.

After the pitch, the director of a German elderly care centre said: 'What a great solution! Unfortunately, I’m here only by myself but what I would really like to do is to invite you back at a later point. Then I can gather several of my colleague directors and see a demo of your product because I think it would be very interesting for them as well. Would you be able to do that?' The answer was, of course, a resounding yes. This is what trade missions are about: that one magic moment.

I really advise Dutch SMEs who are looking for international contacts to join such missions abroad. It not only helps you to get in contact with the right international players, but it also functions as a tool to network intensively with other Dutch organisations.

Ernst Nagel, Top Sector LSH

Saudi Arabia

Life Sciences & Health Mission Saudi Arabia

The Netherlands Embassy in Riyadh and Task Force Health Care joined forces to organise the Life Sciences & Health Mission to Riyadh & Jeddah, Saudi Arabia which took place from the 9 to 13 of September.

Twelve Dutch companies participated in the four-day explanatory mission in Saudi Arabia, which is the largest and fastest growing healthcare market in the region and is estimated to reach $40 billion by 2020. Due to the rapid growth, the government is encouraging the private sector to meet the increasing demand, also the introduction of comprehensive insurance coverage will encourage private investments in the sector.

The Dutch business delegation visited various (private) hospitals, Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib, SaudiGerman and Sulaiman Faqih. They were very impressed by the The Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Hospital as it is the first private digital hospital with the state of the art medical facility in Saudi Arabia.

The memorable part of the mission was The Global Health Exhibition at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center. It is Saudi’s premier healthcare business platform with seven country pavilions including China, The Netherlands, Turkey, Pakistan, USA, Poland and UK.

The exhibition and the hospital visits were valuable as it provided excellent opportunities for the business delegation in terms of meeting new relevant business contacts and learning more about the Saudi Arabian Life Sciences & Health sector.

United Arab Emirates

Meeting new relevant business contacts in the Middle East

The Holland Pavilion, with eleven Dutch companies, provided an excellent opportunity for international professionals to meet companies and experts from the Dutch Life Sciences & Health sector.

From 29 January to 1 February 2019, the Arab Health trade fair took place at the Dubai International Trade & Exhibition Center. Arab Health is the largest gathering of healthcare and trade professionals in the MENA region. The annual trade fair on life sciences & healthcare innovation was attended by 4400 of the world’s leading healthcare companies who came from 70 countries. Besides the well-known Holland Pavilion (located in the main hall) the Task Force Health Care and the Dutch consulate general in Dubai jointly organised the Dutch network reception.

United States

Launch TFHC Healthcare Market Study Texas

In Texas there is a fine line between business opportunity and social responsibility. Due to the free market principle and the -enormous- financial resources available in health, there’s an unprecedented business/social drive to innovate and make dreams come true. This provides opportunities for Dutch health companies, start-ups and research organisations. To expose opportunities TFHC North America, together with the Netherlands Business Support Office Texas, prepared a market study on behalf of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

By providing an overview of the healthcare system, healthcare market, and healthcare infrastructure in Texas, the TFHC Healthcare Market Study highlights priorities, opportunities, and challenges of their healthcare market. In addition, the market study provides information on historical and current trends, financial considerations, and practical information for Dutch organisations and companies interested in the Texas market.