A new index specifically for digital startups

The European Digital City Index describes how well different cities across Europe support digital entrepreneurs. It gives startups information about the strengths and weaknesses of local ecosystems, and gives policy makers a tool to see where they should prioritise. The index covers all 28 capital cities in the EU, plus seven additional European cities.

The EDCi index focuses on what matters most to digital startups, as opposed to startups more generally. It looks at a wide set of factors, such as the skills of the local workforce, the city’s entrepreneurial culture, its lifestyle, the degree of access to capital, and the digital infrastructure. The index was commissioned by Nesta, a registered charity in the UK.

Amsterdam receives top marks

Amsterdam achieved a top-three ranking for both startups and scale-ups, which are companies that have already achieved a scalable business model. 

According to the index, Amsterdam is considered an exciting and diverse city, and this adds to its allure as one of the best places in Europe to start a business. It is generally considered a great place to live, and its reputation as a permissive, connected, and clean city attracts entrepreneurs from across the world. Specifically, Amsterdam scored strongly in terms of capital, culture, and connectedness.

A city that actively innovates in terms of policy

Amsterdam's size also permits a high level of policy experimentation when it comes to entrepreneurship. Important organisations include StartupAmsterdam, which provides a wealth of information for young startups, and StartupDelta, a national initiative that links established tech-clusters across the Netherlands. Amsterdam has also been investing in its innovation strategy, with projects like the Smart City initiative, where new products can be tested in a living lab, and adjusted based on real-world feedback. 

Notable startups in Amsterdam include payment provider Adyen, and scale-ups include the file-transfer platform WeTransfer and travel firm Travelbird.