The Amsterdam Metropolitan Area is the city region around Netherland’s capital city of Amsterdam. Renowned for its impressive infrastructure, centralised location and quality of life, this region is home to talent from over 175 countries.
The area is attractive to businesses across industries and sizes, from start-ups to international corporations. More than 2,500 multinational companies have invested in this area, driven by easy accessibility and quick connectivity to the rest of Europe and the world. Besides an extensive transport network, the area also hosts the Amsterdam Internet Exchange, the world’s largest internet hub.
Amsterdam is widely considered to be the premier start-up ecosystem in the Netherlands, with a wide network of co-working hubs that incorporate accelerators, incubators, and top start-ups together3. Some of Amsterdam's notable start-up accelerators are Rockstart and Startupbootcamp Amsterdam, and the city also hosts the annual tech conference behemoth The Next Web. The city of Amsterdam has launched a public-private programme from 2019-2022 - StartupAmsterdam - to launch initiatives and campaigns to attract foreign start-ups into setting up in the city, with a focus on emerging technologies and developing innovation districts4. Start-ups in Holland can also benefit from a population of highly skilled graduates from the nearby University of Amsterdam and Vrije University5.
Since 2009, the city of has prioritised the development of the Amsterdam Smart City (ASC) with the objectives of meeting urban challenges with sustainable and innovative ideas and solutions, such as open data, smart grids, home energy storage, digital connectivity6. There is a strong cooperation with the start-up ecosystem, with many of the tech-focused start-ups using Amsterdam as a testbed for proof-of-concepts7. The city government also encourages citizens to participate through the 'Smart Citizens Lab' to collect data such as air quality and noise pollution, to develop Amsterdam into a healthier and more sustainable place to live and work8.
Rotterdam is the second largest city in Netherlands and is a melting pot of different cultures with a young and dynamic workforce. Located in the heart of Netherlands, Rotterdam’s strategic location makes it a popular logistics hub that is well-connected to the rest of the world.
The Port of Rotterdam is Europe’s largest port and the world’s third largest port, making it an ideal base for expanding into the wider Europe region. 69% of freight handled in Rotterdam was inwards transport, hence highlighting its importance to the EU as an import hub9. Rotterdam’s port is also a hub for logistics, offshore operations and maintenance, with companies specialising in maritime technology and the full spectrum of maritime business services10. An innovation ecosystem has developed in the city as well, with the world's first Port and Maritime Accelerator, PortXL, founded in 2015 to encourage innovation, sustainability, and digitalisation in the maritime industry.
The city is part of the Medical Delta, an alliance of medical and technological universities including Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus Medical Center, Leiden University, Delft University of Technology, and the Leiden University Medical Centre. The Medical Delta is the country's largest ecosystem of life-science companies and is a leader in biotechnology research and medical innovation. Rotterdam is also home to the Erasmus Medical Center, which is the largest academic hospital in the Netherlands and a leading institute on virology, oncology, and clinical medicine. It has over 3,500 medical students and houses the Erasmus MC Incubator, a dedicated facility for start-ups to develop in a business-friendly environment.
As an innovative and modern city, Rotterdam is fast transforming into a clean-tech hub as part of the CleanTech Delta and Rotterdam Climate Initiative (RCI). The RCI focuses on achieving a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions while promoting economic development in the Rotterdam area through collaboration between government, organisations, citizens, knowledge institutes, and businesses13. The CleanTech Delta consists of projects in the areas of circular economy, energy transition and Smart City, such as implementing district-based heating systems and piloting autonomous vehicles within the city14. There are also numerous cleantech institutions such as the UNESCO-IHE, TNO, National Water Centre, and Delft University of Technology, along with clean-tech incubators such as Yes!Delft that connect innovative start-ups to leading corporates15. Ride on the city’s globally recognised innovative culture to tap the abundant opportunities for new ideas and entrepreneurship.
The Hague is the Dutch seat of government and an appealing location for businesses. The city is both cosmopolitan and compact with about half a million residents. You can easily access government agencies, commercial enterprises, knowledge institutions and international organisations.
The Hague is the base for 240 international organisations, tribunals and non-governmental organisations, such as the European Patent Office, Europol and NATO Communications and Information Agency. As home to diplomats, policymakers and business leaders, non-profits, public sector and private companies, the city is the birth place and testing ground of many international ideas and laws. The city also has more than 20 international schools and institutions of higher learning.
Leverage the city’s excellent infrastructure, international business climate, and quality educational institutes to enter the Dutch and European markets.
Eindhoven is Netherland’s fifth largest city and is recognised as one of the world’s most innovative cities. The Dutch government has awarded it “Brainport” status, acknowledging that it is an innovative high-tech region that is crucial to the Dutch economy. One example is the High Tech Campus, also known as the “smartest square kilometre in Europe”, resides in the city’s technology cluster, promoting innovation and collaboration among companies and institutions.
Consider this innovative climate for your business, which has attracted both startups and multinationals. This is seen by the presence of prominent companies like Advantech, ASML, Cognizant, DAF, IBM, Philips and Wipro Technologies.
Wageningen is home to one of Netherland’s top universities in the fields of food and agriculture, Wageningen University. The affiliated Wageningen University and Research centre (WUR) employs 7400 people involved in advanced research and development, and is one of the world’s leading research centers for food technology. Wageningen has a small population of just under 40000 and is heavily populated by students and agri-tech industries such as Food Valley NL.
Established in 2004, Food Valley NL is an agri-food ecosystem of corporates, knowledge institutions and government agencies that aims to promote technological innovation and market introduction into the agri-food sector, both in the Netherlands and abroad.
Home to Netherland’s renowned Radboud University, the city located in the province of Gelderland, with over 170,000 inhabitants, is a hub of digital health and med-tech activity. The University’s medical centre is one of the largest and leading hospitals of the Netherlands, with several technology centres and three research institutes.
Part of Nijmegen’s and Gelderland’s strengths in the medical fields are due to the large proportion of start-ups that are involved in the med-tech and healthcare sector, ranging from new methods of treatment to innovative medical equipment. Medical start-ups in the province are strongly stimulated through initiatives such as financial and governmental support16.
16 Gelderland: Hub for Medical Start-ups