Investing in growth and talent

Bas Beekman, public lead at StartupAmsterdam, said although Amsterdam has a vibrant startup scene, it lacks companies that are growing fast.

“In Amsterdam, we have a lot

of startups and a lot of talent, but we don‘t have many that are scaling up fast, like Booking.com and Tom Tom, which are our most successful examples. We want more of these in Amsterdam,” said Beekman.

And it is not just about Amsterdam, but the Netherlands as a whole, with Eindhoven and Rotterdam close by.

“We see each other as one startup ecosystem,” said Ruben Nieuwenhuis, entrepreneur and private lead at StartupAmsterdam. “This makes us a bit different to London, where Tech City is separated from hubs in other parts of the UK. It is the same in Germany, where Berlin has a strong tech cluster but it is separate from others.”

With extra government support, Amsterdam could reach its ambition to be one of Europe’s top-three startup hubs. Someone who has been there and done it in Amsterdam is Pieter Van der Does, CEO of payments company Adyen.

“Amsterdam is developing into a good tech hub and the quality of life is higher than in London and San Francisco,” he said.

Maurice Groenhart, product manager at augmented reality company Blippar, said Amsterdam is becoming a more attractive location for talent. “IT talent is very good in the Netherlands, but in the past many people moved abroad.” But government initiatives are changing this, he said, and the quality of life is high, with a much lower cost of living than London and Berlin.