Ottawa – Ottawa’s economic mission to the Netherlands, with Mayor Jim Watson and a delegation of 20 business and tourism leaders, forged partnerships and generated opportunities in tourism, technology, security and education. The resulting partnership agreements and strategic relationships developed between Ottawa organizations and their Dutch counterparts will generate long-term benefits in investment attraction, business development and trade.

The delegates from Ottawa included representatives from Invest Ottawa, Ottawa Tourism and local technology companies. During stops in The Hague, Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, the delegation met with Dutch counterparts and stakeholders, signed partnership agreements advancing Ottawa’s business and tourism interests, and built on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War. The delegation focused on promoting Ottawa as a destination, facilitating business development and investment, and exchanging best practices with municipal and industry leaders.

During his meeting with Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet, Mayor Watson expressed his wish for the Princess to visit Ottawa in 2020, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands. Mayor Watson also met with his Dutch counterparts Mayor Pauline Krikke of The Hague and Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam, to grow our cities’ friendships and discuss issues of mutual interest, like affordable housing, flood mitigation and active transportation, and opportunities for greater collaboration in tourism.

The delegation hosted signature events in both The Hague and Amsterdam, inviting Dutch leaders in tourism and business to celebrate and build on our 75 years of friendship. The events highlighted how Ottawa truly represents Canada In One City, making it the ideal place to invest, visit and study. Delegates networked with industry leaders, decision-makers and government officials.

Tourism opportunities

  • Ottawa Tourism and The Hague Convention Bureau signed The Hague to Ottawa (H2O) agreement, a memorandum of understanding between the two cities to promote one another as destinations of choice to attract new international conventions and business events. The two organizations will collaborate to open new doors for both capitals, pitching each other as gateway cities to North America and Europe.
  • The business events industry in Canada generates $33 billion annually in direct spending, directly employs more than 229,000 people and generates $19.3 billion towards Canada’s gross domestic product. In 2018, 16 per cent of events held in Ottawa were from the US or overseas, representing 9,700 delegates and 16,000 room nights for Ottawa’s hospitality sector.
  • Ottawa Tourism is hoping to leverage the partnership to help attract up to four large meetings and conventions over the coming years, particularly in the sectors of technology, security, defence and life sciences. They also hope to generate new leisure travel itineraries with tour operators.
  • Ottawa Tourism, the City of Ottawa and Destination Think! signed a three-year agreement to continue their work and grow the relationship, including hosting Destination Think!’s international forum, which will bring together the world’s most innovative destination marketers in Ottawa in 2020.
  • Frank Cuypers, Senior Strategic Consultant at Destination Think! and visiting professor on City Making at Columbia University, will be this year’s guest speaker at the Ottawa’s Economic Outlook event on November 5, 2019. Visit the event page for more information.
  • Ottawa Tourism’s President and CEO Michael Crockatt presented at both signature events, inspiring guests to visit Ottawa by highlighting the ways our city represents the people, cultures and experiences of Canada. Home to so many national cultural institutions and major festivals, our welcoming city is a unique destination for visitors, as well as a perfect setting for conferences and events.
  • Based on previous experience with similar international initiatives, the connections forged on this mission will help to secure future meetings, conventions and new leisure travel itineraries, and to generate media coverage, for an estimated future economic impact of more than $2 million.

Business development

  • Invest Ottawa and The Hague Security Delta renewed an agreement to promote bilateral trade and investment, as part of their respective soft-landing program for start-ups wishing to establish themselves in the partner market. The Hague Security Delta is one of the largest and continuously growing security networks of businesses, governments and knowledge institutes in Europe. With nearly 300 partners, it is recognized as the security port to Europe.
  • This agreement ensures that Ottawa is connected with the European leaders in security and will result in knowledge sharing, promotion and partnership opportunities for Ottawa’s security sector firms, which are always seeking new opportunities to grow abroad.
  • Ottawa-based Assent Compliance, a global leader in supply chain data management, continued its worldwide expansion by officially opening its new European headquarters in Amsterdam. This new hub strengthens the longstanding bond between Ottawa and the Netherlands and establishes Assent as a true force in the modernization of global supply chains. Despite already having many clients in Europe, this first brick-and-mortar office will give Assent a full-time presence that will play a key role in growing its footprint within the European Union.
  • Accenture is a multinational professional services company that provides services in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. They are also a key partner in the Ottawa L5 testing facilities. Accenture convened many partners, including representatives from Martello and the City of Amsterdam, to a thought-leadership session to share best practices and innovation trends in mobility, innovation and smart cities.
  • Martello Technologies Group welcomed the delegation to their Amsterdam office, where they provided a client demonstration of their IT operations analytics software. The City of Ottawa uses this software to visualize and manage the performance of its IT infrastructure through simple service-oriented dashboards. Headquartered in Ottawa – with offices in Montreal, Amsterdam, Paris, Dallas and New York – Martello provides control over complex IT systems with solutions such as SD-WAN technology, network performance management software and IT analytics software.
  • Invest Ottawa held 12 foreign direct investment meetings with Dutch companies in the connected and autonomous vehicles sector to promote the advantages of doing business, research and development in Ottawa’s world-class  ecosystem for connected and autonomous vehicles and L5 testing facilities.
  • They also met to build strategic partnerships in the sector with Brainport in Eindhoven, a business and innovation district similar to Kanata North in Ottawa. Brainport is a driver of Dutch exports and houses half of the national auto sector. This cluster presents opportunities for Ottawa to grow its relationship with companies operating in the autonomous vehicles space in the Netherlands by leveraging our Ottawa L5 autonomous vehicles cluster and test-track.
  • Invest Ottawa’s Director of Autonomous Vehicles, Kelly Daize, took the stage at both signature events in The Hague and Amsterdam to showcase the many advantages of doing business in Ottawa, including our diverse technology sector, great access to talent, low cost of doing business, superb quality of life and an accessible global network. Ottawa is especially well-equipped to collaborate on innovative and future-ready technology, with the second-highest concentration of high-tech firms and talent in North America.

Education partnership

  • The City of Ottawa, the University of Ottawa and Fontys University of Applied Sciences announced a partnership to promote academic, economic and research mobility between Ottawa and the Netherlands.
  • This agreement will establish research placements that will support the development of Ottawa’s Nightlife Economy Strategy, with Dutch students finding work placements at the City of Ottawa to conduct research and provide an external perspective on how to grow Ottawa’s nighttime economy, including the musical and cultural spaces that make our city an attractive place for young professionals.


“This has been a very successful mission, generating partnerships that are helping us grow Ottawa’s global reputation as the Canadian destination of choice, for potential Dutch visitors as well as investors. The collaborations announced on this mission represent important access to markets and networks in the Netherlands, and the first critical step in forging lasting and prosperous relationships that will bear fruit for years to come. I want to thank every member of the delegation, who all contributed to sharing our pride in Ottawa as a welcoming and innovative world-class capital and helped us build on 75 years of friendship with the Netherlands.”
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

“The parallels between Ottawa and the Netherlands are many and our ties our strong. From a tourism perspective, the mission was a success in building relationships with tour operators, meeting planners and travel media. We’ve signed agreements to further Ottawa’s interests in the convention sphere and in the destination development world. We look forward to building on this success in the years to come.”
Michael Crockatt, President and CEO, Ottawa Tourism

“Invest Ottawa representatives were proud to take part in this strategic mission to drive investment for our great city of Ottawa, with such a dedicated and professional group of Ottawa’s business professionals and leaders. With already established strong ties between our business communities, the mission went a long way in strengthening relationships, building new connections and exploring mutually beneficial opportunities in key sectors, including autonomous vehicles, smart cities, software and defence. Invest Ottawa is excited to build off of the mission and the new opportunities that will emerge for our next 75 years of friendship with the Netherlands.”
Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa