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, business accelerators, networks and co-working spaces. This, combined with the Dutch entrepreneurial mindset, makes for a fast growing startup culture.
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. The city’s cultural and social life is varied and extensive – there are world-class restaurants, theatres, cinemas, gig venues and concert halls – but at the same time, it is easy to get around and new arrivals find it easy to become familiar with the city, feeling at home after a short time.
3) Startup accelerators
Amsterdam is home to numerous accelerators and incubator programmes for startups, making it a breeding ground for new companies and an ideal place to validate and tweak your business model. For example, Rockstart and Startupbootcamp – two of Europe’s best-performing accelerators – were founded here, and hundreds of teams have successfully graduated from their programmes. There are numerous networks and events to get involved in, making it easy to build meaningful connections.
4) Rich culture and history
Amsterdam is a cosmopolitan and compact metropolis with a historical centre criss-crossed by canals and boasting numerous world-famous museums and architectural highlights. Travelling through the city can brighten up any day. It can be as simple as the sun poking through grey clouds and casting beams across the canal, or noticing new details on that 400-year-old building you’re walking past every day. Amsterdam is also home to a diverse population, with residents from around 180 nationalities and 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.
5) 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.
6) 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, green technologies, impact entrepreneurship, the circular economy and sustainability are high on the agenda.
7) 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. 44% of the population have attended higher education institutions, 80% speak English and 90% speak two or more languages.
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) 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.
10) 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 innovative initiatives in the fields of ICT, tech and life sciences and boasting a flourishing creative industry.