Welcome to Amsterdam: Ampler Bikes
Ampler Bikes is an Estonian e-bike manufacturer, which opened a Benelux office in Amsterdam in March 2022. We checked in with Tuuli Jevstignejev, head of communications at Ampler and a keen advocate for cycling in her hometown Tallinn, to see how it’s going and to hear her thoughts on Amsterdam’s business ecosystem… and, of course, its cycling culture.
How are you finding it – both on a personal and on a business level?
"Launching new bikes and opening up showrooms in Amsterdam and Zürich this year has been a big milestone for us. For me personally, it was such a joy to see our store open on Haarlemmerstraat. I’ve always worked in sports communications, and I’ve been with Ampler for over 5 years now. Seeing the company grow and thrive, being on this journey with them, also counts as a personal achievement for me."
What were your first impressions when you opened the office?
"Amsterdam is definitely a competitive market, with a lot of established brands active in the city. We knew this beforehand, but we also had data to suggest there was a real opportunity for us here. For example, Amsterdam is one of our most popular locations outside of Germany for web visitors.
Countless global bike tests and editorial media coverage bolster our belief in our bikes and our business model: sustainable growth, in-housing where possible, and all our bikes are hand-assembled in our own factory in Tallinn, ensuring the quality of our products."
What are your thoughts about the city’s business ecosystem? Have you made many new connections?
"I feel that the business ecosystem in Amsterdam is just blooming. You can see and feel how alive the city is and how it inspires the people who live and work here. I felt the city’s energy right away when I came over for three weeks in March and I feel that Amsterdam has endless possibilities to help pretty much any business grow. I also feel that Amsterdam has gathered together an enormous amount of talent, so connecting with exciting and inspiring people is easy.
Coming here to work in the bicycle industry is just such a dream. I cannot imagine a better city to learn, observe, connect and get inspired."
Could you give us some insight into trends on the mobility market? What’s Ampler’s vision of the sector?
"Sustainable transport will continue to become more and more relevant. Once the pandemic hit, government regulations were implemented to encourage the use of regular and electric bikes and the developments of most major European cities was towards improving the infrastructure for cycling. Consumers’ inclination towards using e-bikes as an eco-friendly and efficient solution for commuting, the increase in fuel costs, and the rise in interest in cycling as a fitness and recreational activity are expected to continue to drive the market growth.
Our company’s purpose and vision is to get more people on bikes and to give them the best alternative to choosing a car. We focus on everyday commuting: people who ride their bike to work every day in an urban environment."
As you may have noticed, Amsterdammers are rather proud of their cycling culture and infrastructure. As a cycling advocate yourself, how have you experienced the city in this regard?
"Amsterdam is a perfect city for anyone who loves bikes. I don’t have a driving licence, so for me cycling has been the main means of transport most of my life. Moving to this city, where going from point A to point B is so simple and where bikes take priority in traffic, is just wonderful."
Smart mobility is a key focus area for the City of Amsterdam and there are many initiatives and policies pushing for a mobility transition. How does the city compare to others in Europe that you’re familiar with?
"It’s no news that Amsterdam is the prime example for any city that wants to reduce the supremacy of cars. It’s also a strong and growing trend – the popularity of bicycle use as a daily transportation method continues to soar across Europe, with space once reserved for motorists being reclaimed and replaced with newly installed cycleways in cities such as London, Berlin and Paris. I’ve noticed lots of innovation in Amsterdam that should set an example for other cities as well, such as speed limits, bikes taking priority and restricted areas in the city centre.
I run an NGO in Tallinn called Elav Tänav (‘Liveable Streets’), which is currently working with the city on making it accessible to everyone. Tallinn has a very long way to go to be called a proactive city for micro-mobility, as it’s still very car-centric, but steps have been taken and our NGO does its best to help speed up the processes. Living in Amsterdam will definitely give me some more inspiration and learnings."