Investing in knowledge-intensive businesses in Amsterdam

The City of Amsterdam recently announced further contributions to its long-term investment in Matrix Innovation Centres at university campuses. Continuing a longstanding partnership between the City, Rabobank Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam, a newly pledged €300-400 million also signals the entry of new investors the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). The planned innovation centres provide meeting places for forward-thinking business and cutting-edge science: bringing research, education, talent and entrepreneurship under one roof.

The news is an enormous boost for the knowledge-intensive business climate in Amsterdam, already a significant hub for science-led entrepreneurship.

30 years of investment in Matrix Innovation Centres

Though unprecedented in scale, the pledge follows over three decades of investment by the UvA, Rabobank, the City of Amsterdam and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NOW). As equal partners, they founded Matrix Innovation Centre NV, a real-estate company specialised in developing innovative industrial buildings at the Amsterdam Science Park, in 1989.

Until now, six Matrix Innovation Centres have been built at the Science Park. These buildings stand at a stone’s throw from UvA educational facilities and research labs, bringing the university’s research closer to the hundreds of scientific companies housed there – from startups and scale-ups to spin-offs.

This autumn, a seventh Matrix building will open at Science Park: Matrix ONE. The new complex will serve as a world-leading model of sustainable construction, appropriate for its primary purpose as a hub for innovation in sustainability. At the forefront of this initiative is the SustainaLab, a scientific co-creation hub for research, entrepreneurship and education in the field of sustainability.

A citywide expansion

Continuing this formula for success, the new pledge promises further construction and brings on a new partner. The VU signed a partnership with Matrix on 10 May to develop an eighth Matrix centre on its own campus, at the Innovation District Zuidas. This new centre will focus specifically on startups and scale-ups in the fields of digital health and life sciences.

“The entry of the VU as a partner in Matrix offers an excellent opportunity to roll out Matrix’s proven success formula as a catalyst for knowledge-driven innovation, also outside the Amsterdam Science Park,” says Ivo Sweep, managing director of Matrix.

Beyond the new VU centre, the long-term forecast for Matrix is to have built a total of 12 centres across at least four different campuses in the city by 2032: twice the number of existing buildings. Building on those centres’ success, the future buildings are set to serve as optimal locations for knowledge exchange and the co-creation of scientific knowledge, and look to further boost Amsterdam’s reputation for innovation.

Read more business news from around Amsterdam or find out more about Amsterdam’s startups and key industries, including renewable energy and cleantech and life sciences and health.