Eight reasons why Amsterdam is a great place for your start up

With the many things the Netherlands can offer researchers, something that is often overlooked is what it can offer you as a young start-up entrepreneur.

When you will arrive in Amsterdam as a researcher, with a degree in any kind of science, you will find here a perfect balance: a city that allowed me to work while having a good amount of time for my family, friends, travelling and fitness.

When you will be settled in the Netherlands you can start your life’s ambition to start your own science start-up – You will experience that Amsterdam is the place.

Eight reasons to start your business in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an excellent international hub to start a company because it offers the practical things you need to develop your business while also being a enjoyable place to live.

From its foundation and international labor force, to lifestyle and language, here are the best eight reasons why you shall start a business in Amsterdam, and why it is such a good city for expats with an entrepreneurial spirit.

1. Amsterdam has a history for business

You can track down Amsterdam’s history as an international business hub right back to the Golden Age in the 16th century, when Dutch sailors travelled the trade routes to the Far East to bring spices and exotic goods back to the Netherlands from where it was traded against European goods. It is estimated that at the 30% of the citizens living in Amsterdam came from all over Europe.

Such an active history of international trade means that an outward-looking attitude and familiarity with foreign business is deeply vested in the mentality in Amsterdam.

This also makes that Dutch people, industries and government are also supportive of expats doing business in the capital - and the international opportunities it generates.

2. Great support services for new start-ups

From the moment you decide to set up my innovative business, you will be faced with a lot of challenges. Luckily, you can overcome them because of Amsterdam’s great business support services such as start-up facilitators, bookkeepers and legal firms.

There are plenty of Dutch corporate services companies, immigration lawyers and legal companies which specialise in working with internationals and international active businesses. These professionals are used to working in English and to helping newly set-up companies navigate the intricacies of the legal and tax systems in the Netherlands.

3. Dutch bureaucracy is forthright

Amsterdam has a great bureaucratic infrastructure for starting your own business.

The Dutch Chamber of Commerce or trade register is not just the institution where you can quickly and easily start your sole proprietorship, it also has great resources and plenty of information - in both Dutch and English - to support new born businesses.

The Chamber of Commerce offers a variety of possible legal forms to choose from to fit your business needs including:

 A one-person business (sole proprietorship) or eenmanszaak
 A general partnership or vennootschap onder firma (VOF)
 A private limited liability company or besloten vennootschap (BV)
In recent years the Netherlands has also simplified its private limited liability company requirements allowing entrepreneurs to incorporate private companies with much less capital than previously required.
The Belastingdienst, or Dutch tax authorities, also offers several tax breaks for starting companies.

4. Good immigration facilities for entrepreneurs

The Netherlands considers SME’s to be a great stimulant for economic growth. So, at the beginning of 2015, the Dutch government introduced a new start-up visa facility to attract ambitious entrepreneurs from outside the European Union.

A residence permit requires fulfilment of several conditions: entrepreneurs must have a business plan, sufficient financial resources, a facilitator, and be offering an innovative service or product.

5. The cosmopolitan workforce

Without a doubt one of the largest challenges in creating and developing any business is finding the right people.
When growing your business, you will be able to hire talented, intelligent and motivated people who speak multiple languages and almost always, business-level English.

Amsterdam is an excellent place to hire multinational talent as a result of the large expat community - and the tax breaks that attract them to the Netherlands. With a great pool of well-educated professionals, the capital is already home to a large number of established European headquarters.

6. The strategic location within Europe

Amsterdam its central location and strong transport infrastructure mean that it facilitates short travel times and superb access to practically every major city in Europe and on the globe.

Schiphol airport is one of the busiest in the world, with direct flights to more than 320 destinations. The airport is only a 20 minute train or taxi ride from the heart of the capital.

The Dutch railways also provide excellent rail connections to Belgium, Germany, UK and France, with Paris only 3 hours and 20 minutes away on the high-speed train.

7. Amsterdam thinks like a cosmopolitan city but feels like a local town

Amsterdam is one of those extraordinary places which manages to combine a global outlook with a local feel. This is thanks to its small population and compact geography, in combination with an international mixture of residents and easy international access.

Amsterdam certainly feels like a local town in terms of how easy it is to get around - you can literally bike from one side of town to the other within 30 minutes - and it is packed with the culture, excitement and opportunities that you would expect in a capital multiple times its size.

8. The Dutch quality of life

Realising your own business should not make you give up other aspects of your life such as family, relationships, holidays or a healthy lifestyle.

Amsterdam is not only a business centre, it also facilitates a great way of life: with a thriving cultural scene, a great mix of restaurants, coffee bars and pubs, a bustling festival scene and easy access to nature and the non-urban area.

From a family aspect, a recent Unicef study displayed that Dutch kids are some of the happiest children on the globe.
Settling in Amsterdam will also be supportive of a healthy work-life balance, with annual vacation days usually ranging between 25 to 36 days a year, depending on the industry.

Naturally if you are setting up a business you will be setting your own work schedule – still you will experience that it helps if the environment you are in stimulates you to enjoy life beyond work.

Make a good start in Amsterdam

Starting a business is like riding on a bumpy road, and the first years are incredibly demanding and require loads of hard work and resilience.

But your uphill journey will be made that somewhat easier if you start your business in an environment that already has the mindset, infrastructure and lifestyle to support you and your business.

Having the opportunity to build a successful international start-up, realising a good work-life balance, stay fit and healthy and be surrounded by multinational and motivated people is very much a definition of a dream.

And if you could make it happen, then you can make it happen in Amsterdam!