By: Jane Goorden

For many British companies, a no-deal Brexit means that they will have to relocate their headquarters. What makes Amsterdam such a great choice? How is Amsterdam different from other European cities? And what advantages does Amsterdam offer to companies looking to move?

Ideal business climate

For years now, the Amsterdam metropolitan area has consistently ranked as one of the top-5 business locations in Europe. In terms of its trading position, Amsterdam is comparable to global cities like Brussels, Frankfurt and Chicago. The European Medicine Agency’s (EMA) recent decision to relocate its headquarters to the Dutch capital once again highlights the city’s international appeal. Amsterdam has traditionally been a centre for global business and trade and serves as a gateway for international companies, organisations and cities looking to connect with each other.

International business community

Some British companies might be concerned about getting cut off from the international business community post-Brexit. There’s little chance of that happening in Amsterdam, which is currently home to over 2,200 foreign companies, 460 of which are international head offices. Two other interesting facts: no less than 19% of people working in Amsterdam are employed at a non-Dutch company and the city accounts for 13% of all Dutch export to other countries within the EU.

Excellent accessibility

Amsterdam is Europe’s go-to business hub, thanks in no small part to Schiphol Airport, located just 15 kilometres from the city centre. Schiphol serves more than 300 destinations directly, half of which are in Europe. The airport ranks third among its European competitors when it comes to the amount of freight traffic it processes, and fourth in passenger traffic. Amsterdam also offers high-speed train connections to cities like London, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Brussels, and the global ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam are within easy reach. To cap things off, the Amsterdam Internet Exchange is the second-largest internet-exchange point in the world.

Centre for knowledge development

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, you want your company headquarters to be located in an environment that fosters knowledge development. To create such an environment, the Amsterdam business community, the local and national governments and educational institutions work together closely on a wide range of projects and initiatives. The Amsterdam Economic Board, for example, is working on stimulating knowledge development and innovation within seven key international clusters:

  1. Creative industry
  2. Trade & logistics
  3. Financial and business services
  4. Food & flowers
  5. IT and eScience
  6. Tourism & conferences
  7. Human health & life sciences

To optimise knowledge development in Amsterdam, the city shapes its activities in this area in line with national and international policy, as well as seeking collaboration with parties outside of Amsterdam. Amsterdam also has two universities, a student population of over 100,000 – many of whom are international students – and a highly educated workforce that offers a broad language knowledge. In other words, should your company experience rapid growth after relocating to Amsterdam post-Brexit, you won’t have to look far for qualified new personnel.

Amsterdam is committed to sustainable development

Climate change is an important topic for the city of Amsterdam. As the Dutch capital, it wants to have a leading role when it comes to sustainability, aiming to become a smart green city. By 2025, Amsterdam wants to have reduced its CO2 emissions by 40% and it intends to achieve this by generating its own energy, introducing electric transport options, launching pilots for energy planning and creating climate-neutral neighbourhoods. Sustainable initiatives are being encouraged and subsidised, and since 2015 all newly constructed buildings must be climate neutral. The development of smart digital technology, which can boost innovation in sustainability, is also being stimulated.

Focus on participation and integration

The Netherlands is a progressive country, and Amsterdam in particular has a reputation for being an open, social and tolerant city. The Dutch capital prides itself on offering equal opportunity to all and it’s continuously experimenting with new forms of participation and integration. Language education is an important part of this, as is the connection between education and the job market. And because independent thinkers are more than welcome in Amsterdam, the city offers a wealth of job opportunities created by the international ‘flagships’ this culture attracts – an urban culture made up of more than 180 different nationalities, all living together in a free and open society. Fun fact: Amsterdam came in 12th on this year’s world ranking of cities with the highest quality of life.

Relocating to the Netherlands?

Brexit Amsterdam offers translation services and training courses to help you make the transition as smoothly as possible: