The Randstad is a poly-centric urban area in western Netherlands, comprising Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and several smaller cities. It is one of the most densely populated areas in the OECD, and has developed into an advanced urban economy with many leading sectors, such as logistics, horticulture and financial services. The Randstad has one of the lowest unemployment rates in all OECD countries, and it is one of the most attractive metropolitan areas for FDIs.
However, even though the Randstad had high growth rates over the 1990s, it performed less well in the 2000s. In particular, the Randstad has witnessed relatively low labour productivity growth over the last decade - much lower than cities such as Munich or Stockholm for instance.
This Review aims to provide a detailed diagnosis and solutions for improving the competitiveness of the Randstad. The Randstad does not seem to exploit well the proximity of its four large cities, and therefore it does not represent an integrated functional urban system. Key recommendations are: improve internal accessibility within the area; facilitate knowledge transfers to the private sector; increase flexibility in housing and labour market; and strengthen the coordination of the economic specialities of its cities, such as higher education and tourism. Changing the governance framework is a key condition of success: individual city-regions within the Randstad should be granted more responsibilities, and a Randstad agenda should be created, prioritising improvement of regional public transport.
This Territorial Review of the Randstad is integrated into a series of thematic reviews of metropolitan regions undertaken by the OECD Territorial Development Policy Committee. The overall aim of these case studies is to draw and disseminate horizontal policy recommendations for national governments.