Amsterdam has a long and illustrious heritage of financial innovation. It established the world’s first central bank, was the cradle of the world’s first joint stock company and provided one of the earliest examples of a company pension scheme. Today, Amsterdam is one of the most innovative of the major financial centres in Europe.
As the home of the largest data transport hub in the world, the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), Amsterdam has one of the most impressive digital infrastructures in Europe. This guarantees the fastest and the best possible transmission and execution of instructions and orders. No wonder so many high-frequency traders, such as IMC, are located in Amsterdam. The Dutch dominance in the digital arena has also attracted many innovative financial businesses. It is the largest sector in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, accounting for 25% of the regional economy (GDP of the region) and providing 255,000 jobs – roughly 19% of the employment market in the area.
Perhaps the most valuable asset the Amsterdam Area has to offer is its human capital. Its inhabitants are multilingual (more than 80% speak English), internationally oriented and highly qualified (40% have a university degree or one from higher vocational education).
“Amsterdam is a city that is always reshaping the status quo.” – Don Ginsel, Holland FinTech
The FinTech (financial technology) branch of the finance sector, in which businesses utilise software to provide financial services, has boomed recently, mostly due to the fast-moving digitalisation of the business world. Over the last 10 years, Amsterdam has positioned itself as Europe’s FinTech hub, and this role is constantly growing. Amsterdam-based companies that specialise in FinTech services include online bank Bunq, the branch organisation Holland Fintech and startups such as Leapfunder, Sparkholder and Cash or Card. There are also various support networks in the sector, including ING’s Innovation Studio in Amsterdam, which is a global startup campaign that aims to find the best and most promising startups in the FinTech sector.
In addition to the major Dutch financial institutions, the region is home to all the major players in the global playing field. The Amsterdam Area is a major asset management centre and is home to the world’s largest pension funds and leading asset managers. Moreover, the region has many international law and accountancy firms. Amsterdam is home to the global headquarters of accounting firms KPMG, Nauta Dutilh, and a host of other professional service firms, such as Randstad, Loyens & Loeff covering legal affairs, management, pensions and tax consultancy, all of which serve to ensure businesses in the area are served efficiently.
“Amsterdam has a rich history of trade and commerce.” – Maurice van Tilburg, Euronext Amsterdam