Aerial shot downtown
A view of Downtown San Diego. Photo credit: Screen shot,

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria will lead business and civic leaders on a three-day trade mission to the Netherlands to promote the region, World Trade Center San Diego announced Thursday.

The mission, which starts Monday, will highlight key industries in an attempt to establish and strengthen business relationships. The officials also will explore best practices in urban mobility, climate action and sustainability, and technology and science innovation, center officials said.

“San Diego is an undeniable force in the global marketplace, and we must seize opportunities to tell our story and maximize investment from partners around the world,” Gloria said in a statement. 

Home to Europe’s largest port and fourth-busiest cargo airport, the Netherlands is a hub for global trade and business.

Yet it has connections that reach all the way to San Diego. For instance, the Netherlands is among the top 10 countries for foreign direct investment into the region (No. 6 in 2015-2020).

Netherlands-based companies also directly employ 5,000 San Diegans, predominately in the innovation economy at companies like ASML and Philips.

By deal count, the Netherlands is ninth among those injecting venture capital into San Diego, in line with Denmark and falling closely behind Japan, France and India.

Dutch firms invested nearly $318 million in San Diego’s economy in 2021.

The mission is organized by the trade center, an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., with assistance and support provided by the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, the Consulate of the Netherlands.

Companies acting as sponsors include ASML, Lufthansa and Qualcomm.

Nikia Clarke, executive director of the trade center and a senior vice president at the EDC said that “it is increasingly important for metro leaders to advance a compelling vision that keeps us ahead of the curve.”

The mission will take the delegation to Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Eindhoven and Leiden. Sessions with Dutch companies and institutions include:

  • The grand opening of Qualcomm’s AI Research Lab, which has formalized a partnership with the University of Amsterdam to support a pipeline of engineering talent.
  • A meeting and tour of ASML – a leader in semiconductor manufacturing machines – at its Veldhoven headquarters to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its investment in its San Diego-based Cymer site.
  • A pitch by local, minority-owned small businesses Trabus Technologies and Nano PharmaSolutions to the Port of Rotterdam and Leiden University Medical Center.
  • Meetings between Gloria and the mayors of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
  • Meetings and tours of several companies considering investment in San Diego and California, led by Gloria.

The two dozen San Diego delegates include representatives from Qualcomm, ASML, Mitsubishi Electric, Trabus Technologies, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., Gafcon, Arup, HomeFed Corporation, Townshend Venture Advisors and more.

The mission also includes delegates from key San Diego agencies, universities and civic organizations such as the Port of San Diego, UC San Diego, San Diego State University, San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and more.

“This trip is one example of how we can work together across borders to remain competitive in a global economy,” said Consul General Dirk Janssen, Consulate of the Netherlands in San Francisco.