An official welcome to the Netherlands and Amsterdam

On 9 January 2019, the official handover of the temporary office from the Dutch government to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) took place in Amsterdam. The world-leading medical regulator was welcomed into its new premises in the Spark Building by Dutch Minister for Medical Care Bruno Bruins and Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam Udo Kock. The 11-storey, 15,000 square metre building in the Sloterdijk business area boasts 850 working spaces and an extended conference centre. It will act as a home for the EMA – an organisation responsible for the scientific supervision, evaluation and safety monitoring of medicines in the EU – until the agency moves into its new purpose-built headquarters in the city’s Zuidas business district at the end of 2019.

The EMA’s relocation is a direct consequence of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and was confirmed in 2017 following a secret ballot involving the 27 EU Member States. They chose the Netherlands over 18 other countries who bid to become the agency’s new home. In total, more than 650 members of EMA’s staff will relocate from London during the move, some of which are now already settled in the Netherlands. Speaking at the opening of the new office, Professor Guido Rasi, the European Medicines Agency's Executive Director, said: “Today marks the first step in EMA’s new life in the Netherlands. I would like to thank the Dutch authorities who have worked hard to ensure all is ready to welcome us in Amsterdam. This will allow a smooth transition and avoid any delay in fulfilling our important public health mission.”

Guido Rasi EMA

The most dense and innovative life sciences and health hub in Europe

This move is a good example of the focus on collaboration and community in the Amsterdam region’s life sciences and health sector. Knowledge institutions, businesses and governments all collaborate openly with each other to help improve research and innovation in the region. The Amsterdam Area’s health-and-science community is thriving, thanks to the region’s many cutting-edge researchers, startups and collaborations.

The EMA’s move will help to cement this reputation as a world-leading hub for life sciences and health, as the presence of a leading regulatory agency attracts new companies to the region. This will, in turn, improve the region’s already renowned density of international businesses, startups and knowledge institutions. Speaking to I amsterdam last year, Rasi said: “An organisation such as ours is a nucleus for new activities in related health areas, and our presence is an extra reason for companies and institutions to stay and invest more.” 

A new helpdesk to help manage the relocation process

Though the process has been smooth and efficient so far, there is still a huge amount of work to be done to complete the EMA’s relocation to Amsterdam. To help with this, last year a special helpdesk – manned by professionals from amsterdam inbusinessIN Amsterdam and external relocation experts – was established. 

Learn more about the Amsterdam Area's life sciences and health industry, or read more business news from around Amsterdam.