January

The Amsterdam Area’s business year started on 1 January with the creation of an English-language court to resolve complex international business disputes. The Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC District Court and NCC Court of Appeal) is a chamber in the Amsterdam District Court and the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, respectively that primarily deals with complex international commercial disputes, ranging from claims focused on corporate law and tort to contractual issues. Just days later the city saw the arrival of the EMA, which was welcomed into its temporary offices at the Spark Building in Amsterdam's Sloterdijk.

In the latter half of the month, Amsterdam was celebrated in two new rankings. The Dutch capital was recognised by Mercer as one of the world's best cities for quality of life, and Price comparison website Compare the Market named Amsterdam Europe’s sixth greenest capital city, ranking it highly for its environmentally friendly policies and resident's quality of life.

February

February started with news about foreign companies’ impact on the Amsterdam Area, with figures revealing that the arrival and expansion of international firms will help to create a record 7,200 new jobs in the region by 2022. Later in February, QuSoft and the Bosch Group announced that they would collaborate to explore the potential for using quantum computing in machine learning, artificial intelligence and engineering at Amsterdam Science Park.

Amstel Amsterdam aerial view at sunset Hanna Hachula

March & April

A relatively quiet month for business in the region, in March the biggest news to share was that the Netherlands took fifth place, its best position ever, in the new World Happiness Report from the United Nations. In April, Amsterdam UMC made headlines. First, it announced a long-term agreement with AI startup Pacmed to help further applications of medical data science in a clinical setting. Soon after, the medical centre became the first in Europe to use innovative 'interventional cardiac MRI' (iCMR) technology to treat patients with cardiac arrhythmias. April ended with Dutch chocolatiers Tony Chocolonely being named the Netherlands' most sustainable brand for the second year in a row.

May & June

Sustainability news dominated the headlines throughout May and June. First, the Port of Amsterdam posted record profits while also further developing its commitment to sustainability. Soon after, Queen Maxima opened luxury yacht builder Feadship’s new sustainable shipbuilding facility at the port, and then supermarket Albert Heijn launched its new 'dynamic discount' AI technology to help reduce food waste.

June continued the trend started in May, with the news that KLM had signed a fuel deal to help drastically reduce its CO2 emissions. The airline, headquartered in Amstelveen, committed to developing and purchasing 75,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) a year until 2030. Also in June, 25 CEOs of Zuidas-based businesses signed an accord to make the business district zero-waste by 2030. The month ended with more good news for the region, with the City of Amsterdam revealing that its economy is expected to grow by 2.8% in 2019 and an additional 2.3% in 2020, which was predicted to create approximately 57,000 new jobs.

July

There was big news in the Amsterdam Area’s life science and health sector in July, as Belgian-Dutch biotech company Galapagos signed a research deal worth $5.1 billion (€4.5 billion) with pharma giant Gilead. The agreement’s nature was unusual, as the companies chose to form a partnership rather than pursue a takeover, which meant that Galapagos retains the European sales rights for its experimental medicines. In other big life science and health news, Colorcon, a world-leading supplier of products and services for the pharmaceutical industry, announced that it would build a new production facility at Almere’s Stichtsekant business park.

August & September

The final weeks of summer saw Amsterdam and the Netherlands excel in more world rankings. The nation was named as the world’s fourth most innovative country in the 2019 edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII). Amsterdam, meanwhile, was named as the world’s fourth safest city – and Europe’s safest – in a survey, and as the best in the world for commuting. The Amsterdam-Rotterdam region was also ranked as the world’s third-best hub for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), according to IBM’s Global Location Trends report.

Amsterdam canals aerial view Cris Toala Olivares

October

October was all about new openings and expansions in the Amsterdam Area. Amsterdam UMC’s new state-of-the-art imaging centre launched. Situated in Zuidas, it features cutting-edge medical imaging techniques, the latest innovations in diagnosis-support, a uniquely equipped lab and the ability to manufacture medical isotopes. The City of Amsterdam, ING, the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and the ROC also opened their new Amsterdam Zuidoost innovation district: Cumulus Park. Netflix also announced a significant expansion of its EMEA headquarters in Amsterdam.

November

The biggest news in November was the European Medicines Agency receiving its completed headquarters from the Dutch authorities. Located in Amsterdam Zuidas, the building was constructed in just 18 months to minimise any disruption to EMA's work. TomTom and the University of Amsterdam also announced they were launching an autonomous driving research lab together as Amsterdam was hailed as one of the global cities that will ‘lead the mobility revolution’. The Netherlands also retained its top position in the EF English Proficiency Index 2019.

December

This month there was big news in AI, as organisations in the Dutch capital pledged to invest €1 billion into the sector over the next ten years. Startup Guide also released a guide to the Dutch capital’s hottest startups, as well as information for entrepreneurs, creatives, techies and other professionals looking to join the local scene.

Read more business news from around the Amsterdam Area