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.
3) A thriving network for female entrepreneurs
Amsterdam is home to an extensive network of organisations and communities, networks, events and initiatives designed to support female entrepreneurs and tech talent. 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.
7) 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.
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.
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.