The Dutch capital is home to some of the world’s biggest tech giants, most exciting startups and scale-ups – not to mention tech events, hackathons and communities. Thanks to the city’s great work-life balance, making time for family, friends and other interests is easy, while the close-knit community of Amsterdam’s creative tech and startup scene means you’re never too far away from another techie – or even your next career move. But let’s not forget about the top-notch cultural agenda! The city – and its surrounding area – is packed full of exciting festivals, concerts, nights-out, sports events and exhibitions to inspire and amaze.
Here are our top 10 reasons tech professionals love living and working in Amsterdam.
1) World’s best work-life balance
Of all the things the Netherlands excels in, it’s the work-life balance that garners the most praise, and for good reason. The Dutch believe balancing work, personal life and family commitments is essential and contributes to the wellbeing of all household members. But don’t just take our word for it − the Netherlands tops the 2018 OECD Better Life Index with the best work-life balance in the world. According to the report, only 0.5% of Dutch employees regularly work very long hours— the average in OECD countries is 13%.
Work responsibilities are also shared among Dutch families, with the number of women in employment around 70%. Only 1% of Dutch men work more than 50 hours per week with the number for women too small to measure, leaving around 16 hours per day to enjoy the better things in life: eating, sleeping and leisurely pursuits. In addition, it is common for professionals in all industries, especially those with a family, to work only four-day weeks (32 hours). Sounds good, right?
2) Thriving tech community
The Dutch capital is a magnet for tech talent, boasting a talent pool of over 250,000 tech professionals. Its growing and active community of tech lovers are from all backgrounds, whether founders, UXers, growth hackers or developers. The city is an ideal event and conference destination, each year hosting numerous leading international conventions, events and trade fairs such as The Next Web Conference and Amsterdam Capital Week. Driving innovation among its tech professionals is the full calendar of hackathons, where tech professionals use technology to transform their ideas into reality.
3) Vibrant culture and social life
Amsterdam has all the cultural benefits of a capital city, including world-class museums, concert halls, restaurants, bars and leafy parks. But it is still small enough that many international residents consider the Dutch capital more of a village. As a world-renowned city of culture dating back to the 12th century, Amsterdam has something to offer everyone, including theatre performances, festivals, nightlife, sporting events and music. And, of course, don’t forget about its rich history, stunning canals and impressive architecture.
4) Happy families
Dutch children are among the happiest in the world, making Amsterdam an amazing place to raise a family. From family-friendly cafés, playgrounds and parks to petting zoos, you’re never far from fresh air and open spaces. The city also offers a high standard of education facilities, including day cares, traditional Dutch schools and colleges as well as international schools. The Dutch are truly geared towards family life with children under 18 years of age receiving free healthcare, and everyone who lives or works in the Netherlands has the right to receive child benefit for kids under the age of 18 to help with the cost of raising little ones. Working parents are also eligible to receive a childcare allowance, which helps substantially to lower the cost of sending kids to daycare facilities.
5) Easy to get around
Cycling is firmly built into the Dutch DNA – there’s an estimated 880,000 bicycles in Amsterdam today – and everyone from students to police officers and politicians use the two-wheeled wonders. At only 219 square kilometres, Amsterdam is simple to get around and easy to explore. Some 400 kilometres of dedicated cycle lanes lead to just about everywhere in the city, promoting cycling as the preferred mode of transport and helping to encourage a healthier lifestyle.
The capital also boasts a fast, reliable and efficient public transport network that includes metros, buses, trams, ferries and trains to help you get around the city and wider Amsterdam area. The award-winning Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has frequent links to Europe and the rest of the world, while many key European cities are a mere two hours away by car or train. Visiting family and friends couldn’t be easier!
6) Vibrant international community
Home to roughly 180 different nationalities, Amsterdam is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. The Dutch are famously accepting of different cultures and most residents speak English. There are also numerous English-language services for the international community – including healthcare, schooling and official matters – which help newcomers feel at home after a short time.
7) High levels of English
The Netherlands has one of the highest English proficiency rates in Europe. Due to a consistently excellent education system that also scores among the highest worldwide in maths and science metrics, around 90 percent of the population speaks English as a second language. The business language in most international companies is English, too. Of course, learning Dutch can help gain insight into local culture and customs, but learning the local lingo certainly isn’t a requirement.
8) Competitive salaries
Compared to other European countries, salaries in Amsterdam are very competitive. According to the Centraal Planbureau (the government body responsible for economic policy analysis) the average gross income for a professional working in the Netherlands in 2019 was €36,000 euros annually, or €2,770 euros gross per month. In addition, highly skilled migrants coming to the Netherlands to work get a major fiscal benefit: the 30% ruling tax advantage.
9) Innovation and entrepreneurship
Thanks to its top tech talent, world-class startup ecosystem and acumen for innovation, Amsterdam is giving Silicon Valley a run for its money. The Dutch capital is home to roughly 600 international ICT companies (around 170 of which are headquartered here) including Google, Netflix and Salesforce. Of course, there are numerous world-class homegrown companies, too. With some of Europe’s fastest broadband speeds and data-transport hub AMS-IX as well as the massive AM4 data centre, Amsterdam is one of the world’s largest internet hubs. The city’s startup scene is and a wealth of internationally renowned accelerators and incubators, including Rockstart, Startupbootcamp and ImpactHub, provide invaluable mentorship and funding to help businesses grow.
10) High quality of life
Famous for its high standard of living, the cosmopolitan capital combines modern and urban life with relaxed attitudes toward recreation and leisure. With a low crime rate, excellent recreational opportunities and healthcare that’s rated among the best in Europe, Amsterdam took 11th place in Mercer’s Quality of Living Index 2019. The Dutch are well known for their liberal and tolerant attitudes – Amsterdam is also one of the world’s most LGBT-friendly cities.