Amsterdam Excellence Track

The Amsterdam Excellence Scholarship provides non-EU students from a variety of academic fields with 25,000 euros to study at the University of Amsterdam, on just one condition: they really do have to be excellent! Apart from receiving the money, they also take part in the Amsterdam Excellence Track, joined by 15 first-rate Dutch students. The aim is to introduce the participants to the workings of the Amsterdam economy, and at the same time teach them valuable professional skills.

StartupAmsterdam contributed to the curriculum by sharing Amsterdam’s startup expertise in a programme comprising three one-day sessions, entitled the Amsterdam Excellence Startup Tour.

Startup ecosystem: B.Amsterdam

The first instalment of the tour on 22 April was a visit to the B.Amsterdam building. This vast creative working space in Amsterdam West is a complete startup ecosystem in itself, providing a home to everything from tech startups to urban gardening. Ruben Nieuwenhuis, director of StartupAmsterdam, kicked off the programme with a presentation on the Amsterdam startup scene. The students then heard from the founders of B.Amsterdam and were shown round the building before meeting the people behind three innovative startups.

Growth hacking

Part two came on 12 May, with a masterclass by ‘growth hacking’ academy Growth Tribe, on the art of deploying a small group of technical, data-oriented people to scale up a business. The students heard about innovative ways to grow a company by bringing together marketing, programming and data analysis.


Finally, on 3 June the Excellence students visited a brand new business in the city centre, the hotel-cum-office concept Zoku. In a converted office building on the Weesperstraat, Zoku provides living and working facilities for short-stay internationals. The point of the visit was not just to check out Zoku’s innovative approach to providing accommodation, community and work space, but also to learn about its bold scale-up plan. The first Zoku in Amsterdam had only been open a week when it welcomed the programme participants, but it is already set to roll out globally, starting with European cities that match Amsterdam for creativity, such as London, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona.