The cities of São Paulo and Amsterdam have agreed to collaborate in a range of fields including water management, culture, gay rights, sustainability and mobility. The collaboration between the two cities was ratified in Brazil on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 as Mayor Haddad of São Paulo signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan signed the MoU earlier in the month during a visit by a São Paulo delegation to Amsterdam.

São Paulo and Amsterdam are set to collaborate on matters such as water management, culture & the creative industry, education & sport, LGBT policy and the reintegration of drug and alcohol addicts and the homeless. The two cities will also work together on e-government and city marketing. The Public Health Service in Amsterdam will be involved in researching potential improvements to the care and treatment of hard drugs users in São Paulo. The collaboration with São Paulo holds significant economic importance for Amsterdam due to the potential for Brazilian companies to set up shop in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. In addition, São Paulo and Amsterdam will present a united front at two major international city platforms: the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the World Cities Culture Forum. The collaboration agreement is for four years and will subsequently be reviewed.

Amsterdam’s international policy

The collaboration with São Paulo forms part of Amsterdam’s international policy, which is focused on three categories: the native countries of significant groups of Amsterdammers; European capital cities; and countries of importance in regard to foreign investment. In economic terms, São Paulo can be viewed as Brazil’s most important city and as such, falls into the third category. Attracting international companies to the region is a cornerstone of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area’s economic strategy. Through collaborating with (capital) cities in relevant countries, Amsterdam’s international policy dovetails with this approach. Amsterdam is already involved in collaborative projects with Beijing (China), Seoul (South Korea) and Mumbai (India). Thirty Brazilian companies currently have offices in the Netherlands and of these, seven are located in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. Arguably the best-known example is aircraft manufacturer Embraer.