Amsterdam is increasingly prominent in rankings of European tech locations, and it was rated as one of the five most innovative cities in the world by a 2015 CITIE survey. The city’s Deputy Mayor Kajsa Ollongren has stated an ambition to secure Amsterdam a place alongside London and Berlin as one of Europe’s premier tech hubs. A healthy start-up ecosystem is being fostered by private- public partnerships such as the Amsterdam Smart City, StartupAmsterdam and StartupDelta initiatives, and by events including May 2016’s Startup Fest Europe, where keynote speakers included Apple’s Tim Cook.
Amsterdam’s start-up community is supported by co-working spaces such as B. Amsterdam, WeWork and Spaces, while prominent tech accelerators include Startupbootcamp and Rockstart. Additionally, a new tech space called TQ is due to be launched in 2016 by the Dutch tech news publisher The Next Web, working in collaboration with Google.
A notable success story to have emerged from the city’s start-up scene is Ayden, which handles online payments for clients including Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, Uber and Airbnb. Ayden is the Netherlands’ first “Unicorn” – a start-up valued at over U.S.$1bn. Other well-known tech companies based in Amsterdam include the travel website Booking.com, file transfer service WeTransfer and GPS navigation company TomTom.
Amsterdam has also attracted some of the world’s most innovative companies, with firms such as Uber, Netflix and Tesla choosing it as the location for their European headquarters. For companies locating in the Netherlands, its attractions include a favourable fiscal climate, a well- educated English-speaking labour force and some of the fastest internet speeds in the world.
Amsterdam is consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Europe. It is host to a large international community and offers a rich cultural lifestyle suited to young tech professionals. Its geographical location and transport links provide easy access to the rest of Europe, with Schiphol Airport within a short drive of anywhere in the city.
Amsterdam’s tech scene still has some way to go before it reaches the scale of London and Berlin. However, the relatively small size of the Dutch tech market works in its favour by fostering an international outlook – from their inception, start-ups look beyond national borders towards global markets. Amsterdam is a forward-thinking, open and progressive city which has much to offer to both home grown start-ups and international tech giants.