The Dutch economy has been traditionally very competitive among OECD countries. The global financial crisis however has brought new challenges, especially during the second shock, from 2011 onwards. The government’s recovery plan, which includes various measures such as fiscal consolidation, stimulating innovation and sub-national government reform has an important territorial dimension. This review focuses on how sub-national institutions and development can help the Netherlands meet its challenges. In the short-term, factors such as the contribution of all regions, better use of resources, and more efficient provision of goods and services can help the recovery. In the long term, improving national competitiveness will largely depend on a strong performance of the polycentric city structure, which characterises the Netherlands. The key policy areas explored in this review include: the recently created top-sector innovation policy; decentralisation; and territorial reforms such as municipal and provincial re-scaling through mergers or co-operation.