Fast cars or rusty bikes?

How do you actually define success in your career? Is it being able to afford a brand-spanking-new car? A giant house? Constantly proving to your boss that you’re a hard worker by slogging through 11-hour days?

Well, that’s not how it goes in Amsterdam. Even the highest-flying CEOs and directors – donned in freshly pressed suits or wearing their best heels – ditch the sports cars in favour of a good ol’-fashioned steel horse. Even Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte uses his trusty bike to get around. The fact that he cycled to the Royal Palace to meet King Willem-Alexander may have hit the headlines in 2017, and we can’t exactly picture any other government representative two-wheeling it to their place of work, but this is the Netherlands, and it’s just another day in the office for Amsterdammers.

Shorter hours, happier employees

But what about working long hours? Surely that’ll prove to your boss that you’re a hard-working, successful employee, right? Wrong – well, in Amsterdam anyway. In the Dutch capital, employees are typically encouraged to work shorter hours, spend more time with their friends and families, and enjoy other things that they value. In fact, the Netherlands has the best work-life balance in the world according to the OECD Better Life Index, mainly because just 0.5% of its employees work very long hours – compared to the average of 13%.

Suffice to say, life in Amsterdam is amazing. And residents can make effective use of the city’s renowned work-life balance, thanks to the fantastic cultural life on offer. Whether you’re into music, art, theatre, tech events, festivals or clubbing, there’s something for everyone in Amsterdam. Expect all the attractions of a metropolitan city and more, but with a village-like vibe.

What about productivity?

“All this fun and fewer working hours must be bad news for productivity,” we hear you thinking. Nope – from tech and creative to logistics and life sciences, Amsterdam is one of the most innovative and productive cities in the world. You’re not expected to sit out your working hours just for the sake of it. As long as you can deliver, your employer is happy.

And Amsterdam’s tech scene in particular is truly something special. Home to some of the industry’s most exciting startups and scale-ups (including Adyen, Picnic and – as well as some of the heaviest-hitting tech corporates, the Dutch capital is the place to be for tech professionals. And it’s always been that way. Just check out these five Dutch tech breakthroughs that changed the world, if you don’t believe the Dutch can put their money where their mouth is.

Discover more reasons to love Amsterdam.