Amsterdam’s first GCC delegation

From 15 to 17 January, a delegation from the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area visited the cities of Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The delegation, led by Amsterdam’s Deputy Mayor Kajsa Ollongren, was the first official visit from Amsterdam to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

Opportunities for Amsterdam's startups

Amsterdam is the startup gateway to Europe, and Dubai and Doha play this role in the Middle East and Africa. During the visit, steps were taken to make it easier it for Amsterdam businesses to enter the market there and vice versa.

Five startups travelled along with the delegation, and a host of events provides insights into the business environments in Amsterdam and Dubai. The main program was organised by StartupAmsterdam, in collaboration with Dubai Startup Hub and other partners.

Investing in Amsterdam

Seminars were also were held to inform businesses about the benefits of investing in the Amsterdam region. One example is Katara Hospitality, which owns renowned hotels such as the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam. The company is now interested in expanding its Amsterdam office. Tourism is also an important and growing sector for Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai, and Amsterdam Marketing held a city marketing workshop in Abu Dhabi to explore the opportunities.

Cultural exchange

Several Amsterdam-based cultural institutions formed part of the delegation. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra performed at various events during the trip and discussed with local partners the idea of exchange programmes with Amsterdam. Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been investing heavily in their cities’ cultural sectors, and talks were held with a wide range of cultural institutions about links with cultural institutions in Amsterdam.

Urban innovation


Doha has asked Amsterdam to assist in setting up its own Smart City program, much like Amsterdam Smart City, and Amsterdam presented some of its innovations in the field of smart mobility. Examples include self-driving boats and 3D-printed bridges.