Platform for innovation

As a municipal government, the City of Amsterdam’s task is to eliminate as many administrative barriers to innovation as possible. Amsterdam has pioneered a strategy that allows for serendipity at all levels. By establishing more and more meeting places where the free flow of creative ideas is actively stimulated, the city’s residents are encouraged to be active citizens. The fruits of this labour are already visible. Some of the city’s innovation partners and projects include:

Amsterdam Smart City

Amsterdam Smart City (ASC) is a partnership between businesses, governments, knowledge institutions and the people of Amsterdam. It challenges diverse parties to come up with and implement innovative solutions to urban issues. ASC is a frontrunner in the development of Amsterdam as a city that accelerates sustainable economic growth, which improves the quality of life in the city for everyone. In only six years, ASC has grown into a platform with over 100 partners involved in more than 90 projects.


StartupAmsterdam was founded by entrepreneurs and governmental bodies and represents Amsterdam’s startup ecosystem. More than 1000 companies work together with incubators, accelerators, corporate partners, universities, investors and a supportive government. StartupAmsterdam has launched numerous projects, for example Startup in Residence, in which companies are challenged to solve urban issues in categories such as urban mobility, the circular economy and healthy living. The selected startups are offered office space, an accelerator training programme, the support of professional mentors and access to the city’s wide network; the City of Amsterdam will invest in the most successful solutions.

Waag Society

The Waag Society is also a crucial player in Amsterdam’s innovation ecosystem. It develops technology for social innovation and acts as an intermediary between the arts, science and the media. The Waag Society focuses on healthcare, culture, the public domain, education and sustainability. It also works on providing underserved groups with access to new technologies. Examples include the Storytable, a multimedia table where elderly people can share stories, and the BoardMessenger, which is a tool that allows mentally challenged people to communicate more easily. Many of these projects have won international awards in recent years.

Pakhuis de Zwijger

Pakhuis de Zwijger is a venue, a community and an independent platform for Amsterdam and its inhabitants. It organises events about complex urban challenges and invites the creative industry and the city’s residents to inform, inspire and create. With more than 30% of their events held in English, De Zwijger serves as an excellent meeting point for the city’s innovation ecosystem. With more than 80,000 members, the so-called City Makers initiate small-scale, projects that meet a social need: redeveloping derelict properties, promoting urban farming, and starting community enterprises that enhance local employment rates. A current plan, for example, is to rethink the function of the city’s 25 public libraries.

Amsterdam Economic Board

The Amsterdam Economic Board consists of 20 representatives from governmental agencies, research institutes and the business world who work on strengthening the economy of the Amsterdam region. The Board strives to stimulate and support innovation, collaboration and sustainable growth, while at the same time enhancing Amsterdam’s international competitiveness. Its ambition is for Amsterdam to be among Europe’s top three innovative regions by 2025.


Kennisland is an independent think tank with a public mission to make society smarter and to empower people to keep learning. At the moment, their priorities include innovations in the field of education, more effective and efficient government, encouraging an open and accessible cultural heritage, the modernisation of copyright law and the forming of new connections within the cultural sector.

AMS Institute

The The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, or AMS Institute, is a new, Amsterdam-based public-private institute where engineers, designers, digital engineers and scientists develop and implement solutions to urban problems. The  institute was established in 2013 and encourages its partners to work closely together. Through its research projects, the institute is developing a deep understanding of the city and is involving Amsterdam’s residents as testers, users and co-creators.