A smart bottom-up approach 

On 8 April 2016, the City of Amsterdam won the European Capital of Innovation award (iCapital) from the European Commission. The award panel, consisting of independent experts, praised the way Amsterdam embraces a bottom-up approach based on smart growth, startups, liveability and digital social innovation.

Amsterdam was chosen in a close competition with eight other finalists. The city will use the €950,000 first prize to scale up and expand its various innovation efforts.

Innovation in and for the city

 “Amsterdam fully deserves to be our European Capital of Innovation for its holistic vision of innovation in and for the city,” said Carlos Moedas, the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.

“The competition was very tough, and the outstanding achievements of the all nine shortlisted cities are an inspiration to others,” Moedas said. “They are shining examples of how cities can put innovation to work to improve the way people live and businesses work.”

Amsterdam as a pioneering city

With this second edition of the award, the European Commission wanted to celebrate the European city that is building the best “innovation ecosystem” by connecting citizens, public organisations, academia, and business. The prize is meant to help the city scale up its efforts in this field. “We need pioneering cities and regions like the winner, Amsterdam, to lead the way,” said Markku Markkula, the President of the European Committee of the Regions. 

The winner and the finalists were selected on the basis of new initiatives launched since 2012, and on the cities' future ideas for developing innovation further. Turin and Paris were selected as the runners-up, and the six other finalists this year were Eindhoven, Berlin, Glasgow, Milan, Oxford, and Vienna.