10 reasons startups choose and love Amsterdam
Innovative, entrepreneurial, creative, rebellious – the spirit of commerce is in the very DNA of Amsterdam. The city offers a solid infrastructure for startups to launch from and is rated one of the top cities in the world to live, work and create in. Here are 10 reasons why startups blossom in Amsterdam.
1. Established startup hub
As a startup, you are not alone in your brave venture. Amsterdam has a long history as a successful business hub and leading centre of trade, so there is an established infrastructure of progressive thinkers, startup incubators and accelerators, networks and co-working spaces. This makes the city a breeding ground for new companies and an ideal place for validating your business model and accessing funding.
2. A city connected
Amsterdam combines the advantages of being a European capital with those of being a relatively small-scale city. This lends it a cosmopolitan vibe, while it allows it to retain its village-like charm. All relevant contacts are just a stone’s throw away, which makes the processes of networking, creation and production fast and flexible. A plethora of small- and large-scale events such as meetups, conferences and workshops help with making connections and becoming part of the startup ecosystem. And the city’s major annual startup events and top tech conferences have become unmissable fixtures. Amsterdam is the proud host of world-leading tech & funding events: World Summit AI, IBC, Money2020 and TNW Conference.
3. The ecosystem cares about diversity
Amsterdam is home to an extensive network of organisations and communities, networks, events and initiatives designed to support women-led startups and women in tech. Committed to promoting equality and diversity in the workplace, they are helping women in tech and female founders on their career journeys.
4. Work-life balance
Amsterdam’s cycling culture is no secret and it may well be a key ingredient towards enjoying a happier, healthier lifestyle. Hopping on a bike to get across town – rather than struggling in traffic or relying on public transport – is one of the most common things expats highlight about the city. And clearing your head after a day in the office is certainly simpler if the journey home takes you cycling through Vondelpark. All the above factors contribute to a high quality of life. Amsterdam regularly ranks high in the Mercer Quality of Living Survey, a ranking of the most attractive cities to live in worldwide.
5. Spirit of innovation
Catalysed by a huge pool of talent, proximity to (potential) clients and cosmopolitan atmosphere, Amsterdam’s business life is flourishing and it continuously attracts new, up-and-coming businesses. In addition, Amsterdammers are tolerant of change and receptive to new technologies. For example, the energy transition, smart mobility, impact entrepreneurship, the circular economy and sustainable construction are high on the agenda.
Startups with science-based products or services, particularly in the life sciences and health field, can find a home in one of the city’s innovation districts and living labs. The Amsterdam Life Sciences District, the Amsterdam Science Park, the New West Health and Innovation District and other hubs are thriving centres of cross-sector collaboration and scientific excellence. They are also known for strong startup communities, for example in the Science Park’s Startup Village.
6. Talent at hand
The Amsterdam Area is home to a talented workforce, providing access to a large labour pool of talented, highly motivated, well-educated and multilingual potential employees. The city's diverse population fosters a multicultural, multilingual, open-minded outlook. English is widely spoken (including in many companies), enabling non-Dutch speakers to comfortably live and work in the city. 44% of the population have attended higher education institutions, 80% speak English and 90% speak two or more languages. People love to live and work in our city. Not only because of the best hiring conditions (i.e. Liveability, 30% tax ruling and less red tape), but also because the tech scene offers many job opportunities and challenging projects. In recent years, we ramped up the tech curriculum within and outside of our educational system. As a result, talent is pouring into the ecosystem via Growth Tribe, Amsterdam School of Data Science, the Talent Institute, Codam and BIT Academy.
7. Ease of finding customers
Dutch corporates are launching customers and lead users by nature. Our corporates, like ING, Heineken, Philips and KLM are the frontrunners in this. Now Amsterdam is ahead with corporates that have joined the tech scene. If your startup has a solution for our local government, you can apply for the Startup in Residence programme. Thinking of going abroad? Get in contact with our counterparts in other European startup cities via the SCALE (Startup City Alliance Europe) network. We’re happy to be of help and connect you! Explore other ways of finding launching cutomers in our comprehensive guide.
8. Strategic location
The city offers excellent infrastructure, which makes it a gateway to the rest of Europe. The award-winning Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is centrally located and flies to more than 300 destinations, reaching all crucial business destinations within Europe in a maximum of two hours’ flight time; high-speed rail services connect Amsterdam to Paris, London, Berlin and Brussels and the Port of Amsterdam ranks fourth in Western Europe.
9. Competitive economic climate
The economic climate is very welcoming to startups and many highly skilled migrants qualify for a 30% personal tax income advantage. Ambitious entrepreneurs from outside the EU can also hope for the so-called startup visa. The Netherlands is stable, secure and prosperous in political, social and economic terms, and Amsterdam is an open, creative and dynamic business city leading in innovation in the fields of tech, life sciences and other sectors and boasting a flourishing creative industry.
10. Digital infrastructure
The Amsterdam Area has one of the world’s highest broadband concentrations. It is also home to the best possible digital foundation: the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) is one of the largest data transport hubs in the world.