The green light for ASML growth

ASML growth

This article was last updated on June 5, 2024

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The green light for ASML growth seems within reach, but there are also concerns in Eindhoven

A site the size of dozens of football fields on the northwest side of Eindhoven, wedged between two highways and the Beatrix Canal. Can chip machine manufacturer ASML build there? That is the question the city council will consider tonight.

Only after approval by the council can the next steps be taken in ‘Operation Beethoven’: the government’s plan to keep large companies such as ASML in the Netherlands. A tour by the NOS to the various factions in the Eindhoven city council appears to indicate that a majority is in favor of the expansion plan, although this is not yet certain. It seems to depend on GroenLinks. The largest party in the council still has doubts, but is leaning toward support.

“Saying no to this is not an option,” says Tjeerd Ritmeester, deputy leader of the PvdA. That seems to be the core of the story: the economic interests for the city, the region and for the Netherlands are too great. This not only concerns employment at ASML itself, but also for all kinds of suppliers – probably tens of thousands of additional jobs. Even though public facilities are already under pressure and finding a house in the region is difficult.

‘Urban flop chicken’

In practice, the plans mean almost a doubling of the number of employees at the manufacturer. The overall expectation in the chip sector is that the demand for computer chips will increase significantly in the coming years. This is the result of major technological and social developments, such as electrification and the increasing use of AI (artificial intelligence).

“This is the biggest decision we as a council are making this period,” says Eva de Bruijn, group leader of GroenLinks, the largest group in the council and part of the coalition. “For or against, it both has consequences.” GroenLinks is the most critical of the coalition parties.

“We must prevent Eindhoven from becoming an urban flop,” says De Bruijn. “It is only possible if it is possible. It is already squeaking and creaking in the city. ASML must also take a major responsibility here.”

In healthcare, for example, they notice that it squeaks and creaks. There is a waiting list at GP organization Stroomz, says chairman Pascale Voermans. This is noticeable in the new Meerhoven district in Eindhoven, where many internationals who work at ASML also live. “Anyone who would like to continue registering cannot actually go here,” says Voermans.

And that’s without the thousands of extra employees who will be added when ASML expands. “So we are actually calculating what that means in terms of additional care demand. So what is the impact on care and on which care?” For example, we also look at what care can be done digitally. She also says that the provision of information for international residents must be carefully examined.

There are also processes underway, currently on a small scale, to allow the partners of foreign employees to enter as employees in healthcare or education. “But at the same time we also know: you cannot simply start working here with a foreign education.”

Sports clubs are also preparing for growth, says Ron Dillen. He is chairman of a Veldhoven football club, but also of the local sports agreement and in that capacity he also sits at the table with ASML. He acknowledges that the waiting lists at his club will not become shorter. “We are of course limited in our capacity. So that means that plans are being made to see whether we can facilitate growth.”

With the increasing number of internationals, they also see an increase in demand for other types of sports, such as cricket. “They just have a different way of exercising,” said Dillen. The chairman sees the growth of ASML and other suppliers mainly as an opportunity.

Collaboration with The Hague

Councilor on behalf of the CDA Stijn Steenbakkers sees the pressure on public facilities as an “important point of attention”. He points out that a study is underway in collaboration with The Hague into what additional needs are needed in the region. “So that this can take place in balance. Because it is only possible if it is possible.”

ASML emphasizes that they are aiming to invest 2,500 euros per employee per year in the region through 19 different programs. This concerns, for example, housing, infrastructure, cultural activities and sports. The current number of employees in the Netherlands already amounts to 57 million euros and that amount will increase in the future. Healthcare, the company says, is truly a government task.

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