5 reasons why Amsterdam is the heart of Europe’s digital economy

11 Sep 2017

Five bicycles parked on a bridge in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Image: MarinaDa/Shutterstock

The team at Interxion outlines the reasons why the Netherlands’ capital of Amsterdam is a hot spot for CTOs and IT experts in the know.

One of the oldest cities in the industrialised world, Amsterdam has always stood at the forefront of international business and commerce. Located within hours of many major EU city centres (such as Paris, London and Frankfurt) and home to the world’s oldest stock exchange (AEX, now part of Euronext), the city has always had an offering for those involved with global finance and trade.

Yet, over the last decade, Amsterdam has become among the most attractive locations for US enterprises looking to serve the European market. And for CTOs and IT experts in the know, it’s easy to understand its appeal.

With the ability to connect to more than 244m potential customers across the continent, Amsterdam is naturally the nexus of Europe. It remains an attractive and highly sought-after city for any company looking to enter or broaden their presence within the region.

Here are five reasons why Amsterdam has become the heart of the EU’s digital economy.

1. Foreign direct investment

The city has undergone a digital renaissance and has quickly become a growth centre for digital media and commerce, enticing international companies such as Facebook, Netflix and Salesforce to establish their European headquarters in the heart of the Netherlands. In fact, more than 170 ICT companies from across the globe have chosen Amsterdam as their European HQ.

2. Superior connectivity

Amsterdam is one of the most connected cities in the EU, serving as home to the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), which is one of the largest internet exchanges in the world with more than 800 members. In November 2016, peak traffic surpassed 5Tbps.

The city is highly connected both by fibre-optic networks and undersea cables that connect to the eastern seaboard of the United States, London and other major cities across the Atlantic. The network infrastructure within the city also supports over-the-top (OTT) content distribution, which has served to feed the voracious appetite for digital content by consumers within the Netherlands and nearby countries. In fact, Amsterdam’s Science Park business park, home of the AMS-IX, houses more than 150 networks and is capable of reaching 80pc of European customers within 50 milliseconds.

3. Digitally advanced

Social media, online gaming and streaming media services have grown in popularity exponentially as the upwardly mobile, multilingual population of the Netherlands has fully embraced the digital lifestyle. The Netherlands currently has the highest penetration of Netflix subscribers in the EU (outpacing larger neighbouring countries such as Germany), and also boasts one of the largest online gaming communities, accounting for more than 20pc of online gaming traffic across the continent.

4. Skilled workforce

The local workforce is not only highly educated but speaks multiple languages that include English, French, German and, of course, Dutch. Ranked seventh globally in higher education, the Netherlands has more skilled labour than most comparable cities in the EU, making it easier to conduct business across borders.

5. Business-friendly

Government programmes such as the Highly Skilled Migrant Visa programme, along with the increasing availability of skilled part-time and contract labour, have further simplified the process of meeting the on-demand needs of modern global businesses.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Interxion blog

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