NR 2 2013
AMS Amsterdam in business
The smart logistics hub Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Amsterdam ArenA Danal
Eberhard van der Laan, Mayor of Amsterdam
New in Amsterdam
diplomas in denim, coffee with clout, premium service providers
Roberto Payer, general manager Hilton Amsterdam
The DNA of Amsterdam Journalist Russell Shorto on what makes this city tick
12 WHY WE CAME
Hwan Woo Chung, CEO of Danal direct-to-mobile payment systems
Connections: Korea and the Netherlands
Why the Amsterdam Area is the smartest logistics hub to the rest of the world
Images of Amsterdam
The cityâ€™s luxury hotel boom
36 ICON & EVENTS
The renovated Rijksmuseum; Peter the Great at the Hermitage; the reopening of the Van Gogh Museum
42 Work place The International School of Amsterdam
IT STARTED IN AMSTERDAM
Connections: Brazil and the Netherlands AAA location
Colleen Geske on the quirky habits of the Dutch
Henk Markerink, CEO of Amsterdam ArenA
Science Park Amsterdam, hotbed for scientific research, IT and life sciences
56 born & bred 59 FACTS
Reinier Russell, Honorary Consul of Brazil in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol amsterdam inbusiness
what we can do for you
Cutting through the red tape of relocation
According to economists, there is a real chance that there will be only five major hubs in Europe in a few decades – metropolitan hubs where people, goods, services and ideas from across the world come together; and where new knowledge and products are developed or given a new lease of life. Hubs that also serve as a physical and cultural gateway to the rest of Europe and the world. The Amsterdam Metropolitan Area has the ambition to be one of those hubs, and we have everything that is needed to achieve this. We have a knowledge economy that is fed by clusters of businesses and knowledge institutes, strength in ICT and a leading international creative sector. Great things are also happening here in areas such as life sciences and the food and flowers chain. In this issue you can read all about our logistics cluster, another of this region’s strong economic clusters. Although already being rated among Europe’s top five most important logistics centres, we need to keep investing and stay one step ahead of our competitors. And this is precisely what we in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area are doing – in special partnership with businesses, knowledge institutions and government authorities. We think we’ll be able to take a few major steps together this year: the investments we are making in strengthening and expanding our logistics network are bringing ever greater rewards. And the fact that global trade is picking up again and market parties are demanding more and more in terms of speed and delivery reliability gives the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area an even greater edge when it comes to logistics
Eberhard van der Laan Mayor of Amsterdam
The place to be in 2013
services. By improving connections between the three networks already here (the North Sea Canal ports and maritime cluster in Rotterdam, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Greenport Aalsmeer) and lightening the managerial and administrative workload as much as possible, we are in the process of creating Europe’s smartest multimodal transhipment hub. More and more companies are opening management centres here, motivated by the desire to streamline and improve the sustainability of their distribution networks and thus add value to their products and services. 2013 is also a special year in terms of culture in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. We are celebrating 400 years of the Amsterdam Canal Ring, as well as the 125th anniversary of cultural temples such as the Concertgebouw and the Royal Theater Carré, which play a prominent role in our the city’s cultural life. A lot of money has also been pumped into maintaining the city’s rich cultural heritage – because this, after all, is a precondition for the success of a business and tourist destination. As Mayor, I will therefore be making personal appearances at many of the festive openings and re-openings of these cultural institutions. The world famous Rijksmuseum – home to Rembrandt’s iconic ‘Night Watch’ painting – will, for instance, be opening its doors again soon, following a long period of renovation and restoration. It will be more beautiful and accessible than ever before. The equally famous Van Gogh Museum was modernised, and the Stedelijk Museum of modern art and the Maritime Museum both recently reopened following a complete restyle of the buildings and collections. Add to this the successful new film museum on the north bank of the River IJ and the gradual progress being made on the metro line that will connect the far northern and southern parts of the city, and it will surprise no one to hear that Lonely Planet travel guides named Amsterdam the place to be in 2013. I’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to Amsterdam to see for yourself whether you think our city is worthy of this title.
AMS NEW IN
text Eline Ronner Inspiring new businesses, initiatives and organisations. New this issue: couture courses in denim; heritage coffee; professional services providers, digital developments and more
Amsterdam’s pool of professional services providers grows In February, the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area became home to yet another international law firm, when Jones Day – one of the world’s largest, with 2,400 practitioners across five continents – opened an Amsterdam office. The news reflects the importance the company attaches to its clients’ European operations, and the Amsterdam premises will initially focus on corporate law, M&A, private equity, capital markets, litigation and antitrust law. It will service the many internationally oriented corporations presently doing business in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. www.jonesday.com
Taking hospitality to the next level – and a new campus
Part of an initiative started in The Hague, the new permanent campus of the Hotelschool Amsterdam near leafy Rembrandtpark in the city’s Oud-West has capacity for 256 live-in hospitality students. The attached training hotel, with 20 double rooms (each furnished by a different hotel chain) and two restaurants, gives students the chance to hone their skills – under the eagle eyes of trained service professionals, of course. For an in-depth look at Amsterdam’s hotel industry, see pages 27-29. www.hotelschoolams.nl
Envisaging a bright future
VU Medical Center confirms new Imaging Center In 2016, Amsterdam’s VU Medical Center will open a fully integrated, state-of-the-art imaging site, which will allow researchers to gain deeper insight into the structures and functions of the human body. It will play a crucial role in the successful and efficient development of novel diagnostic and drug therapies, thrusting Amsterdam to the forefront of hybrid imaging techniques and confirming the VU’s status as a global centre of excellence in the exciting field of biomedical imaging.
Jean School Exceptional coffee with an impressive heritage and a promising future
D.E Master Blenders 1753 (DEMB), the coffee and tea company formerly called Douwe Egberts and recently spun off by Sara Lee Corporation, established its global headquarters in Amsterdam in July last year. The main reasons for moving to Amsterdam were the city’s central location and the accessibility of the international labour market. The now publicly traded company is located just a stone’s throw from NYSE Euronext in the heart of the city. With a market capitalisation of more than 5 billion euros, DEMB entered the premier share index for Dutch-listed companies, AEX, in the fall of 2012. As implied in the new name, Douwe Egberts has been synonymous with exceptional coffee since 1753, when it started as a grocery shop in the province of Friesland in the north of Holland. This heritage has made Douwe Egberts one of the best-selling coffee brands in Europe. Today, DEMB operates across Europe, Brazil, Australia and Thailand, and its brands include world-renowned names such as Senseo, Pickwick and Hornimans. www.demasterblenders1753.com
Home to the European headquarters of denim über-brands including Levi’s and Tommy Hilfiger, Amsterdam is also the birthplace of international heavy-hitter G-Star RAW as well as a number of smaller denim ateliers, including Blue Blood, Denham the Jeanmaker, Avelon, Kings of Indigo and Benzak Denim Developers. With the launch of the world’s first dedicated Jean School, Amsterdam is living up to its reputation as the European capital of all things denim. The House of Denim Foundation, the Regional Community College of Amsterdam (ROCvA) and the denim community in Amsterdam and beyond have come together to create a three-year technical programme to train the next generation of denim developers and designers. www.jeanschool.com
D.E Master Blenders 1753
Diplomas in denim
AMS NEW IN
Honourable mention Indian philanthropist goes to the top of the class The University of Amsterdam (UvA) awarded an honorary doctorate to Indian entrepreneur and philanthropist Ratan Tata during anniversary celebrations in January this year. Mr Tata (b1937) was commended for the significant contribution he has made to the global expansion of the Mumbai-based conglomerate Tata Group, in which he has combined economic growth with a comprehensive corporate social responsibility programme. Mr Tata retired as chairman of the Tata Group in December 2012 but remains president of Tata & Sons. In addition, he manages the conglomerate’s major charities: the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Sir Ratan Tata Trust.
The Netherlands rises in ICT rankings
The Netherlands has climbed one place in the annual ICT development rankings, compiled by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a specialised agency of the United Nations. The ICT development list ranks 155 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills. The Netherlands is one of eight European countries – primarily Scandinavian – in the top ten. Rising to sixth place in the 2012 rankings, the Netherlands surpasses many other larger European nations, including the United Kingdom (ranked tenth), France (18th) and Germany (16th). South Korea tops the rankings of the world’s most advanced ICT economies. By the end of 2011, almost a third of the world’s population was online. In developed countries, this figure was 70 per cent. The Netherlands is traditionally a very well-connected country. According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, 90 per cent of Dutch households were connected to the internet in 2009.
Digital developments Bold, green digital data
Equinix, an American provider of global data centre services, has completed the construction of its third data centre in Amsterdam, given the name AM3. This new data centre is located in the Amsterdam Science Park, one of the densest carrier locations in Europe and presently home to more than 150 networks (see pages 52-55). It houses internet exchanges such as AMS-IX (Amsterdam Internet Exchange) and NL-ix (Netherlands Internet Exchange), and is capable of reaching 80 per cent of customers in Europe within 50 milliseconds. This new data centre is one of Equinix’s most innovative and sustainable operations, using water from nearby underground reserves for cooling in place of mechanical methods and channelling the excess heat to warm nearby buildings. Such measures save a lot of energy and reduce the data centre’s CO2 footprint significantly. The launch attracted the attention of European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who commented: ‘This is exactly what we need in Europe. Bold, green and digital! Equinix has realised the potential of this tremendous technological tool and found how to make it an economic reality. They have realised that in a time of crisis we should not shy away from new green projects.’
South Stream Transport Pipe dreams
South Stream Transport has set up a permanent project organisation in Amsterdam, facilitating the planning, construction and operation of the South Stream Offshore Pipeline. An international consortium of four major energy companies – OAO Gazprom (Russia), Eni SpA (Italy), EDF (France) and Wintershall Holding GmbH (Germany) – the company is presently constructing a 900km underwater gas pipeline through the Black Sea to transport Russian gas to Central and South-Eastern Europe. www.south-stream-offshore.com
Pharma logistics hub
Dutch denim stalwart Scotch & Soda expands Stateside Not content with having conquered the Dutch denim market through its stand-alone shops stocking ranges for the whole family, Scotch & Soda has set its sights on North America. The Dutch brand, which was acquired by Sun Capital Partners Inc. in 2011, already has stores in Belgium and France and opened two flagship locations in London’s trendy Westbourne Grove last autumn. While Scotch & Soda already had franchised locations in New York and Miami, the eight new stores will be entirely company owned and mark a new period of expansion for the brand.
The new KLM Pharma 15-25 zone – named for the guaranteed temperature range that the new zone can provide – is capable of handling all types of pharmaceutical and life sciences cargo. According to an official statement, the investment in the new facility reflects KLM’s drive to ‘attract more business from the pharma and life sciences sector, where temperature-controlled ground handing within strict limits is an essential element in the supply chain. Positive results have already been observed within the region, with nine new international companies from the life sciences sector having established themselves in the region in 2012, including Alvimedica (Turkey) and Bioventus (US).
Schiphol opens pharma zone
‘This painting was made by a friend of mine, Jules. He painted a lot, but never dared to expose his work. I pushed him. I bought this painting for quite a lot of money to encourage him. I think it was worth it.’
‘I bought this dumb waiter for next to nothing, in an antiques shop on the Vijzelstraat. He makes me smile. Every time I walk past it I say to myself, “Why are you all the time asking with your hand out? Why don’t you give?”’
‘This is a family picture. There was a time when I loved horses too. A neighbour back home painted this and the family bought it.’
International residents photographed in their own homes Roberto Payer, general manager at the Hilton Amsterdam Originates from Cordenons, in the Friuli region of Northern Italy. In Amsterdam since September 1969
‘The book is about the city’s Canal Ring, which turns 400 this year.’
‘I am a real collector. Everything in my house has a story. These silver bowls are all memories of my trips – to Nepal, Oman, Dubai, I think. I never buy souvenirs; I buy something I want to see.’
‘We collect model ships. Here we have only one, but there are many in our house in Italy. The other side of the family has a long maritime tradition.’
‘I wouldn’t live anywhere else’
text Megan Roberts photo Thijs Wolzak
He’s lived in Holland twice as long as his native Italy, but Roberto Payer, the general manager of the Hilton Amsterdam, hasn’t forgotten where he comes from.
rank,’ he says. ‘The Dutch, however, are used to having their opinions and communicating them freely. At first that was hard for me to accept: Italians don’t like criticism – just look at my country at the moment! – but I love to work with Dutch people. They’re creative and daring and very open, but they do have their rules. And in the Netherlands you can progress very fast if When he was just eight years old and living in you show who you are.’ the Friuli region of Northern Italy, Roberto Payer’s own career at the Amsterdam Hilton is Payer knew that he wanted to work in the hotel testament to this: at just 21 he was managing industry. ‘I have always known what I want,’ he the hotel’s nightclub – the centre of the city’s quips. Crucially, he also knew how to get it. swinging social scene, where they international ‘In Italy, hotels were mostly family-run in the jet set came to see and be seen. Sixties, small in scale,’ Payer explains. The But outside work, Payer was putting down roots Amsterdam Hilton, which turned 50 this past July, was the only international, company-owned on a much more modest scale. ‘I moved to the hostelry in Europe – and therefore the only place Jordaan. Forty years ago it was still very local. The Jordanese love opera, they love food, they Payer wanted to work. ‘At the Hilton, they were thinking about human resources, marketing – all love the Italian way of life. I fitted right in. My things that barely existed back then,’ he enthuses. first apartment was 50 square metres. I was 23 Not to mention a boost for international business and paid 15 euros a month for it. Not much from the US. So when he finished school, Payer room, but I felt very rich, very lucky.’ Payer now lives on the Prinsengracht, and while promptly left Italy for the Netherlands. Forty his job may be more sedate than his heady years later, he is the general manager of the Hilton Amsterdam. And he’s never looked back. nightclub days, it is not without its glamour. The ‘Amsterdam is a magical city. It’s a cosmopolitan hotel’s superlative Italian restaurant, which Payer conceived 20 years ago and is named ‘Roberto’s’ city, but also like a small village.You know a lot after him, is now an international brand, which of people but at the same time the experience is very international. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. he will be helping to expand in the coming years. And as for the future, Payer can’t imagine I love other cities, but to live? No.’ himself living anywhere but here: ‘I love my Integration, Payer says, was a natural and country and I go back a few times a year, but if quick process. ‘You can’t expect the country to there’s something I miss I bring it here, to the adapt to you; you should adapt to the country. Hilton. We have the best espresso, the best Italian If you want to be respected, you must first be food... Besides, I am a workaholic – and when respectful.’ the weather is not so good here, I go to work. If Having lived in the Netherlands far longer than the sun was shining all the time, I’d never achieve his native Italy, you’d be forgiven for thinking anything,’ he says, only half joking. that the assimilation has been total, but Payer ‘I will be buried in the Netherlands,’ Payer stills sees – and appreciates – the differences. ‘I concludes – and, after a beat: ‘but my heart is come from a Catholic background, which was still Italian.’ < very structured, very formal, based on age and
The point gets to a deeper one about Amsterdam and logistics. The city’s Golden Age came about thanks to its ability to solve the logistical problems of the 17th century. Doing business was extremely costly, because life was so unpredictable. Ships sank. Diseases destroyed whole populations. Amsterdam developed a global trading empire by solving many of the uncertainties of the day. The East India Company brought goods from Asia and Africa, and the city turned itself into a giant warehouse: you see remnants of it in the many 17th-century warehouses along the city’s canals. They once held stores of cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and other fantastically expensive commodities. With these stores built up, Amsterdam’s merchants could insure that prices didn’t fluctuate wildly from year to year. The East India Company was itself a logistical innovation. The world’s first multinational corporation solved much of the problem of financial risk by dividing that risk among many investors. Its shares of stock – the first ever – were made available to the city’s whole population. This in turn led to the founding of the world’s first stock market. And around it grew a
network of insurers and other ancillary services, making Amsterdam a complete logistical centre for the 17th-century businessman. The city’s logistical genius was built into its very structure when its great Canal Ring was laid out. The canals were like arms that reached around the globe, bringing all the world’s goods into the city. A merchant could sail from faraway Java right into Amsterdam’s harbour, and from there bring his goods by boat directly to his canal house, which was also his warehouse, without ever touching land. The canals turned the city’s greatest problem – water – to advantage, and made it the logistical centre of the 17th-century world. It’s not a coincidence that at this same time the city pioneered the concept of tolerance. As a shipping centre, it saw lots of foreigners, and in an era when intolerance was more or less official policy in Europe the idea of tolerance of differences came into being as a kind of logistical tool. It was good for business. It’s not surprising, in that light, that a few years ago Amsterdam was named the most ethnically diverse city in the world. If you are idealistic, you might choose to see that fact as arising from a noble desire to build an immigrant society. But it’s really a matter of logistics. <
The DNA of A’dam Russell Shorto (1959) is an American author, historian and journalist, best known for his book on the Dutch origins of New York City, The Island at the Center of the World. He is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and is the director of The John Adams Institute in Amsterdam, where he has lived since November 2007. In 2009, Shorto received a Dutch knighthood in the Order of Orange-Nassau. photo Robin de Puy
‘Tolerance of differences came into being as a kind of logistical tool’
People who go through security at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for the first time may experience something new. Typically, screening at Schiphol takes place not at the entry to the terminal, but at each departure gate. This means shorter lines for passengers. How can Schiphol do this? The answer has nothing to do with budget, but rather with logistics. While other airports think first about the screening machines, officials at Amsterdam’s airport started with the concept of convenience. Then they figured out how to move the machines around to suit the needs of passengers.
WHY WE CAME
â€˜From Amsterdam things are developing much fasterâ€™
Hwan Woo Chung, CEO Danal CS&F
Danal CS&F introduces direct-to-mobile payments to Europe, starting with the early adopters in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area
text Hans Kops photos Mike Roelofs
WHY WE CAME
MOBILE MONEY Danal’s decision to set up in Amsterdam was the logical answer to a sum for Hwan Woo Chung. The key factor is the similarities between the telecom markets of South Korea and the Netherlands, says the CEO of the Korean company’s European head office. There is high mobile phone penetration in both countries. The Koreans and Dutch are also streets ahead internationally when it comes to using smartphones as portable extensions of the internet, and are widely known to embrace innovation quickly – particularly innovations in the area of telecommunications. This latter fact is particularly pertinent for Danal, which is one of the pioneers of a financial service in which phone-loving Korea leads the world: mobile telephone payments. Many Korean smartphone users utilise functionality co-developed by Danal to make payments via their smartphones. The next step, of course, is to export this market success, which is why a promising second home market was created in the US. Now the company is turning its sights to Europe and the Middle East. Thanks to its many similarities to the home market, its unique suitability as a pilot market and its good physical and digital connectivity, Danal sees the Netherlands – or rather, the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area – as the ideal springboard for achieving this ambition. ‘The international mobile payment market is still in its infancy,’ explains Chung in his executive office on the seventh floor of the World Trade Center in Amsterdam. ‘We believe that its use will undergo enormous developments and that the edge Danal has in terms of knowledge and technology will allow us to play a key role in this. And when it does, we will need positions in every country with a market potential that is interesting for us and to be familiar with the individual features of the respective payment systems. ‘That’s our next reason for choosing to open offices here: from Amsterdam it’s much easier to develop and reach all those different markets in Europe and beyond. We’ve been here for a little over a year now and we’ve already made agreements with providers in two-thirds of European countries regarding the use of our application. I don’t think we could have achieved this faster anywhere else.’
‘We’ve been here for a little over a year now and we’ve already made agreements with providers in twothirds of European countries… I don’t think we could have achieved this faster anywhere else’
SECURE CONNECTION Danal started 15 years ago as one of Korea’s many providers of voicemail and other mobile phone services. But the management soon saw that phones were becoming increasingly smarter and would eventually replace people’s wallets. They also recognised that mobile phones could be used to create a secure and fully transparent connection between information stored at banks and credit card companies on users’ bank balances and credit lines and the cash systems of the shops and businesses where they make their purchases. Danal set up the world’s first ever mobile payment service and business has been booming ever since. The first payment method involved having to get payments authorised before an approval code could be sent by text message. But Danal soon developed its own application. ‘We set ourselves apart from other mobile payment providers by offering more than just the opportunity to add small amounts to a phone user’s bill. Our application makes the online payment chain much shorter. We enable providers to offer their users a secure environment, where their account details are stored behind a personal and unbreakable code. If you want to make a payment, you enter the amount on the telephone and the bank or credit card company checks whether you have enough money or credit to permit the payment. If so, a coded (or uncoded) payment authorisation is provided. This makes it possible for larger payments to be processed as well. Eventually it will also be possible for all personal payments to be made and processed in this way. Before, online payments involved going through a separate authorisation process, which was costly and time-consuming.’ The advantage for users is ease of use, the time it saves them and the fact that they can access their financial resources wherever they are, without continually having to identify themselves. Your personal telephone number (plus code) is all the information you need to access your personal funds. Vendors don’t have to invest as much in payment systems and can increase their margin by cutting out the middleman, as well as reduce the number of cash transactions and waiting times. And providers can expand their services and sell more call minutes.
WHY WE CAME
‘Efficient travel is absolutely vital for us – another reason to be happy with Amsterdam as a location’
Danal CS&F The Korean market leader in direct-tomobile billing, Danal partnered with Dutch investment company CS&F in 2011 to bring its leading-edge technology and domain knowledge to Europe. In Danal’s home market of South Korea, two-thirds of all mobile phone subscribers actively use the company’s mobile payment service. Danal Korea has almost 50 per cent market share, having completed 14 mobile carrier integrations and signed up 12,000 online merchants to process in excess of $2 billion in transactions. Internationally, Danal now has partnerships with some of the world’s largest mobile operators, including Orange UK, Verizon Wireless and AT&T. In May 2010, Danal entered the US market with partners including Nexon, Perfect World, NHN and Gamepot to launch BilltoMobile. Danal also has market presence in China and Taiwan.
‘This is big business, but developments have only just begun. In Korea mobile payments account for a billion dollars’ worth of transactions each year. Yet most of these concern smaller consumptions. The potential uses are vast. Danal has a very strong proposition on what may prove to be one of the biggest future growth markets.’ MAINTAINING THE LEAD But in order to maintain its current head start, Danal needs to become a world player as soon as possible. Therefore the company decided to set up a joint venture with a local investment company in the US. Similar approaches have been taken for Europe and the rest of the undeveloped world. ‘Here [in the Netherlands] we have started a 50/50 partnership with the investment company CS&F. This means that we share the risks and we benefit from their local networks.’ Incorporated under Dutch law, ‘Danal CS&F BV’ is already fully integrated into Dutch business culture and networks – a relatively simple task, according to executive vice-president of operations, Hwal Song. ‘Despite the unmistakable cultural differences, there are many essential similarities between the business cultures of Korea and the Netherlands. Both countries are sandwiched between several dominant spheres of influence and have therefore positioned themselves as trading countries with a strong emphasis on service provision and international orientation. This is reflected in how we do business and in how we view markets. We share many similarities in that regard.’ Seven people work at Danal CS&F’s European head office at present (two of whom are Dutch), but Hwan Woo Chung expects this number to have doubled by the end of the year – an expansion that is much-needed because of the contracts already signed with providers in 20 different countries. ‘From Amsterdam, things are developing much faster than we expected,’ Chung adds. ‘We need multilingual people with backgrounds in sales and marketing in the telecom sector and specialists with contacts in the financial world.’ In the meantime, Chung is experiencing how important it is that Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is less than 15 minutes by taxi from his office. ‘I have to travel to destinations in Europe and further afield several times a week. Efficient travel is absolutely vital for us – another reason to be happy with Amsterdam as a location.’<
‘It’s in the nature of the Dutch to take pleasure in cleanliness and they often scrub the streets and maintain their houses with great verve.’ These were the reflections of Korean Yu Kil-chun, who visited Amsterdam in 1885. Yu Kil-chun was one of the first Koreans to travel abroad, and he described the places he visited to teach Koreans about the merits of the West. Until 1876, Korea had been virtually isolated from the outside world; it was not easy to enter the country and equally as difficult to leave again – as Dutchman Hendrik Hamel had discovered back in the 17th century. Hamel landed in Korea after the Dutch East India
Company yacht he worked on perished in a heavy storm on 16 August 1653. Hamel was forced to stay in Korea for 13 years before escaping to Japan in a small boat. ‘They know nothing of our people or of Holland,’ Hamel would later write of the Koreans. They referred to the Netherlands as Nampancoeck – the country of the southern barbarians – and associated it with tobacco primarily. ‘So much tobacco is smoked that even four- and five-year-old children use it.’ This is why, according to Hamel, the Koreans were curious about the Dutch. Hamel, in turn, gained an intimate knowledge of Korea, the people, the language and the culture. The Journael Hamel wrote about his experiences in Korea was published in 1668 in Amsterdam. It was the very first Western book about Korea. Amsterdammers wanted nothing more than to do business with the Koreans – but they had to wait three centuries before that wish materialised.
Thirteen years in Korea
The KoreaNetherlands connection in historical context
More and more Korean companies are choosing to open offices in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. The region is now home to more than 40 – including LG Electronics and Pantos Logistics – and the Korean expat community is growing fast. Historically, the connections run deep
â€˜The people and traditions make the logistics here uniqueâ€™
A pivotal logistics triangle, exceptional connections and a high density of service providers make the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area the smartest logistics hub to the rest of the world
text Hans Kops photography Raimond Wouda
‘Nowhere else in the world will you find as many different logistics functions within such a relatively small area’ (Paul van den Brink, international marketing director at Schiphol Area Development Company)
Facts & Figures The logistics cluster in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area is supported by three key pillars: the North Sea Canal ports (Amsterdam and IJmuiden), Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Greenport Aalsmeer. In terms of transhipment volume, the port complex of Amsterdam constitutes the fourth largest seaport in Europe. Thanks to the close proximity of the vast maritime complex of Rotterdam, the port has the largest potential transhipment capacity and the most shipping connections to and from Europe. The timetable at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol includes some 313 destinations and the 1.5 million tonnes of cargo the airport processed last year (a 3 per cent increase on 2011) makes it Europe’s third largest airfreight airport. Greenport Aalsmeer is the world’s largest logistics hub and commercial centre for cut flowers. There are 25,000 businesses operating within the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area logistics cluster, which provide jobs to 180,000 people (in 2009) and create an annual added value of 16 billion euros (just under 3 per cent of the gross domestic product).
CREATING SMARTER CARGO CONNECTIONS Last summer, the airports of Amsterdam and Singapore signed an agreement that caused quite a stir in the world of logistics: the cargo departments intend to work closer together in the area of e-freight – that is, paperless freight processing between the destinations. All the links in the supply chain use an information standard developed by the umbrella air transport organisation IATA, which makes it possible for everyone – from customs to the transporter at the other end – to work in the same digital document. Doing away with bureaucratic delays can half the time it takes for a product to be transported and delivered to its final destination in the far corners of the Netherlands and Singapore. It also minimises the risk of error and reduces the customarily vast paper trail – which, according to the press release, would itself fill 80 aeroplanes. This is an important step towards paperless transport, says Enno Osinga, senior vice-president of cargo at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and one of the project’s initiators. It reflects the internationally pioneering role of the logistics chain in and around Amsterdam. ‘Everyone is talking about e-freight in the world of logistics, but Schiphol is the first location where it has actually been put into effect. Delegations from across the world are coming to us to find out how we organised and implemented it, or – like Shanghai’s Changi Airport – to ask if they can actually work with us,’ confirms Osinga. ‘What we tell them is clear: wanting to be smarter than the
Gilles Auzanneau, General Manager Pilot Freight Services ‘Pilot Freight Services is an American provider of transportation and logistics services, the largest privately held US freight forwarder operating today. Our current business largely consists of air and ocean import from the US and Asia. We arrange customs brokerage and door delivery for our customers/importers. We also provide distribution throughout Europe for some of our customers. When we decided that we needed an office in Europe, as a US-based company, one of the first thing we considered was language. The UK came to mind but the Netherlands is very impressive in terms of knowledge of English. In addition, Amsterdam makes a lot of sense geographically, it is centrally located, reachable overnight by road from most European capitals, and situated between the two biggest economies in Europe, Germany and France. Over the last ten years, the Netherlands has made great strides in developing a good infrastructure to all European capitals; customs and tax authorities are very business minded; and of course the VAT deferment is a great incentive to many importers. Schiphol and the port of Rotterdam are very appealing locations, well designed for logistics: the authorities have worked hard to make a perfect transport hub, and it works.’
‘We’re taking supply and demand as the starting point and bringing these together in the most effective way’ (Enno Osinga, senior vicepresident of cargo at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol)
Seamless Connections Seamless Connections is a programme in which the logistics sector, government and knowledge institutes work together to implement substantive innovations in the Amsterdam Area’s logistics chains. A number of pilot projects have been set up to remove the obstacles – both literal and figurative – that exist between parties within the hub, all focused on either advancing, accelerating or associating in- and outbound processes. SmartTruck has been set up to improve congestion management in the densely populated Metro Area. SecureLanes aims to improve inspection planning by customs officials and other supervisory bodies; while AirLink aims to speed up the time it takes to process incoming and outgoing freight at the airport by 25 per cent, by means of further automation and freight ‘reporting’.
rest fits well with this logistics cluster. And we have to be. If we want to maintain our position as the smartest logistics platform in Europe, we need to keep working on improving the exchange of knowledge and information between the different links in the chain and ensure that the different transport flows are managed in the best way possible. The logistics cluster around Amsterdam excels in this respect; it is more innovative and better integrated and organised than many competing logistics hubs in both Europe and further afield.’ MANY BRANCHES The logistics cluster in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area has many branches, but the seaports have formed a fundamental part of the hub since time immemorial. In terms of transhipment volume, the ports in the area around the North Sea Canal constitute Europe’s fourth largest seaport, and together with Rotterdam’s maritime complex they offer the largest transhipment capacity and most shipping connections to and from Europe. Barely 15 minutes by taxi from the city centre, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol maintains a network of 313 destinations, and the 1.5 billion tonnes of freight it processes a year makes it one of the larger air freight hubs. The third unique key aspect in this logistics triumvirate is Greenport Aalsmeer: the international logistics hub for cut flowers. Add to these pivotal locations good connections in the more remote areas of the country, good legal and tax arrangements, a stable digital infrastructure (thanks in part to the presence of one of the world’s most important internet hub, AMS-
Rene de Koning, Chief Commercial Officer, IJS Global ‘We provide logistics services – airfreight, sea freight, trucking and courier services – in 21 countries with 600 colleagues, and we’ve been in business for just six years. IJS Global began in the US, in New York, but in 2010 we moved our global headquarters to Amsterdam. We made that move because the Netherlands is one of the prime locations to have your headquarters. There are many reasons for that – not least of which is the infrastructure. It’s a combination of luck – geographically, the Netherlands is exceptionally well positioned – and customs rules and government policy. Over the last 25 years the government has ensured that the infrastructure is there, not only within the Netherlands but beyond it too. As a company, we constantly have to be innovative, which means we have to find the right people. We find the best people in this area: they know the business and they speak multiple languages. Unlike countries such as the UK, France or Germany, the Netherlands is not a major manufacturing country. Instead, we’re a service-oriented country, with a long history of logistics. And of course we have two perfect engines to power the logistics industry here: Schiphol Airport and the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Let’s leverage those.’
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Cargo
Clockwise from top left Enno Osinga, Schiphol passenger terminal, Paul van den Brink & Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Cargo
STRONG POSITION The position of the logistics cluster in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area is undeniably strong – but there are also threats. Major changes to the direction and composition of trade flows across the world have created even stronger competition between the most important logistics hubs and will eventually compel consolidation – first and foremost in Europe. An advisory council set up by the Dutch government (the Van Laarhoven Committee) concluded that in the not-too-distant-future only five or six of the 15 current major European logistics hubs will exist as centres of international trade. Ensuring that the Amsterdam cluster remains among this elite is therefore a key aspect of economic policy at national level. There is no doubt that the powerful and well-equipped Amsterdam-Rotterdam cluster will be able to perform, but it is important to keep investing in maintaining that distinct edge. For the cluster around Amsterdam, this means focusing – more so than ever – on providing logistics services that create recognisable added value for all parties concerned. Van den Brink: ‘The value of logistics is no longer determined exclusively by the processing speed, the density of the destination network or a low margin for error.You also have to be able to add value as a service hub – for example, by ensuring that a product’s time to market is shortened or by being able to offer support in the area of design or
‘The logistics cluster around Amsterdam is more innovative and better integrated and organised than many competing logistics hubs‘ (Enno Osinga, senior vicepresident of cargo at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol)
Jan de Kreuk, Head of Airfreight, Hanjin Logistics Europe ‘Hanjin Logistics Europe, a subsidiary of the South Korean company Hanjin Logistics, is a third-party logistics service provider delivering supply-chain control to companies in need of it. We provide international transport through the air and by sea. As part of the company’s aim to be present in all major ports across Europe, we set up our on-airport base at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in March 2012. Schiphol’s geographic location means we have easy connections both within and beyond Europe. Many years ago, there was an advertising campaign that described Schiphol – and the Netherlands generally – as the gateway to Europe. That is still very true: it is ideal as a platform for distributing our customers’ goods throughout Europe. Additionally, for foreign companies setting up in the Netherlands there are many benefits, including a competitive tax climate. And Schiphol’s commitment to e-freight [it is one of the world’s most active paperless airfreight communities] is very much in line with our own vision. In terms of efficiency and costs – not only for us, but also for airlines and handling agencies – paperless airfreight is the future.’
IX) and a high density of logistics service providers, and it quickly becomes apparent why the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area has much to offer as a logistics centre. But what distinguishes this cluster the most is its age-old tradition as a staple port for Europe and because storing, transporting and improving freight flows have always been second nature to Amsterdammers. ‘It is the people and the traditions that make the logistics here so unique,’ says Osinga. The Netherlands was destined to become a logistics hub. Geographically, it was predetermined to be a place of transit. ‘We are not an industrialised country; we like to import rare products, but we rarely export products from here. We Dutch have to provide added value by ensuring that when we transport goods to more remote areas of the country, we do so in the most reliable, sustainable and smart way possible and that we keep the transaction costs of the entire process as low as possible. It’s always been that way, and it always will be.’ Paul van den Brink, international marketing director at the development company SADC, adds: ‘Nowhere else in the world will you find as many different logistics functions within such a relatively small area. This means we had to start thinking about how to prevent congestion early in the process and how to set up the space available so that all the activities can continue to exist – and, better still, can strengthen each other. We turned this physical disadvantage into a market advantage. Many big companies with a logistics function now have their own distribution centres in or near Amsterdam. From here they serve Europe and often also the Middle East, Russia and Africa too.’
‘We Dutch provide added value by ensuring that when we transport goods to more remote areas, we do so in the most reliable, sustainable and smart way possible’ Enno Osinga, senior vice-president of cargo at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
sales and marketing,’ continues Van den Brink. ‘We have an advantage with regard to all these aspects – an advantage that we are always building on; for example, by developing activities that bring together logistics and the creative side of Amsterdam. This will continue to strengthen our position as an international storage hub for the fashion industry, for instance: we can hang the collections of today’s fashion chains on the racks in their shops across Europe on the day of delivery. ‘Additionally, more and more companies are managing their global transport flows from here – including Disney, which coordinates its European supply chain from Amsterdam. Here they have people with knowledge in logistics and access to the systems that make this possible.’ The unique combination of seaports and an airport in such close proximity also makes Amsterdam attractive for parties that need to transport both bulk products and smaller, more expensive units. Such companies are starting to use sea transport for the first time, reserving airfreight for timesensitive products and more expensive items, such as spare parts for aircraft. ‘We ensure that both modes of transport and the transport to the client’s door are coordinated with optimum efficiency,’ explains Schiphol’s Enno Osinga. ‘The volume we process in a year at Schiphol can be done in a day in Rotterdam, but it’s important that both transport options can be offered together and used to complement each another.’
INNOVATION PLATFORM The most significant challenge lies in further streamlining the logistics network itself. As an airport manager and one of the leading members of Dinalog Amsterdam, an innovation platform for logistics, Enno Osinga is closely involved in many improvement and innovation projects. Under the name Smart Logistics Amsterdam, businesses, supervisory bodies and knowledge institutions work together to create solutions that benefit the entire chain. ‘This cluster is the benchmark for shaping and supporting smart logistics. Our ambition is to build on this lead in the coming years,’ says Osinga. Strengthening the management function is therefore one of the key aims of many improvement processes. ‘This requires a single vision throughout the entire chain. We’re not talking from the perspective of the ports, Schiphol or Greenport: no, we’re taking supply and demand as the starting point and looking at how we can bring these together in the most effective way. This requires extensive integration and smart ICT solutions – and this is what we excel in.’<
In 2012, Amsterdam gained nearly 1,500 additional hotel rooms â€“ and despite the increased supply, occupancy rates are expected to grow. Thereâ€™s never been a better time for hotel investment in the Dutch capital
text Eline Ronner
HOSPITALITY HOTSPOT In January 2013, a new luxury boutique hotel opened its doors in a former diamond factory in Amsterdam’s De Pijp neighbourhood. This newcomer, the Sir Albert, will welcome guests seeking both a base for business and to explore Amsterdam – and it’s not the only new hostelry in town. A number of recent MEETING POTENTIAL openings illustrates that Amsterdam is a true Amsterdam is a world-class international hotspot for investors in the hotel industry, espeMICE location. Amsterdam Marketing has cially those operating in the luxury segment. created a bespoke online location finder, Early in 2012, the Conservatorium hotel – Amsterdam CustoMICE’d, to help meeting located between Amsterdam’s exclusive shopplanners organising meetings (M), incentive ping street, the PC Hooftstraat, and the Van trips (I), conferences (C) and events (E) to navigate their way through the city’s many Gogh Museum – opened its revolving doors. venues and locations, with information on Condé Nast Traveller put this 129-room hotel, facilities from conference room dimensions located in a former music conservatory and to in-house restaurants and airport services. part of Israeli luxury chain The Set, on its hot Amsterdam Marketing also provides list for 2012, calling it ‘a visual feast’. bespoke planning, information and advice to A few months later, in October 2012, the Anconference organisers. daz Amsterdam Prinsengracht hotel opened Amsterdam Marketing in the city’s historic centre, making Amsterdam Business Marketing, Meetings & only the ninth city in the world to host an AnConventions daz Hotel and the first in continental Europe. +31 (0)20 720 6100 With the opening of the Andaz Amsterdam, firstname.lastname@example.org Hyatt celebrated its 500th hotel in the world. www.iamsterdam.com One of eight different hotel brands operated by the internationally-renowned Hyatt chain,
Amsterdam’s boutique Andaz hotel offers 117 rooms and five suites, all created by celebrated Dutch designer Marcel Wanders. The rich and vibrant history of the Netherlands inspired Wanders’ design, which incorporates references to the Golden Age, Delft Blue ceramics and – of course – the ubiquitous tulip. MORE TO COME In 2014, the legendary Waldorf Astoria is set to open a 94-room hotel on the prestigious Herengracht canal. Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice-president of development for Europe and Africa at parent company Hilton Worldwide: ‘Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam will be an exceptional addition to our luxury portfolio. We are particularly pleased to see growth in Amsterdam, which is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations.’ Additionally, existing five-star hotels have invested millions of euros in the quality of their product: the Sofitel The Grand, the Okura and Hotel de l’Europe have all dug deep to upgrade their hotels to the next luxury level. International chains select Amsterdam because of the many opportunities it offers international hotel developers. According to real estate
then, that despite the surge in the supply of rooms, the occupancy rate of hotels in Amsterdam is also expected to increase, especially in the luxury segment. In a benchmark study published by KPMG in 2012, the occupancy rate of five-star hotels in Amsterdam rose from 62.3 per cent in 2010 to HOTEL DEVELOPMENT INTERMEDIARY 63.1 per cent in 2011. The average What the Hotel Development Intermediary revenue per room also increased can offer you: by 6.2 per cent in this segment in • A central point of entry to start the the same period. realisation of your plans
LOOKING FORWARD All things considered, it is no wonder the hotel market in Amsterdam is receiving increased attention from both domestic and international investors. A report LUXURY POTENTIAL by Savills also noted that the The attractive market conditions for luxury ho- hotel sector is well supported by the City of Amsterdam. To help tels in Amsterdam is further illustrated by the entrepreneurs develop or expand rise in wealthy tourists from the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Accord- a hotel in Amsterdam, the city has ing to information recently published in Dutch appointed a Hotel Development Intermediary, René van Schie, who newspaper Het Parool, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Amsterdam increased by 42 per serves as a central point of entry and a guide who can help you cent over the last two years, and the number of Russian tourists by 35 per cent. No wonder, realise your plans. <
• A link to our broad network of public and private partners • The know-how of necessary procedures to realise your plans • The know-how on all current hotel development projects, greenfields and transformation possibilities • Support during the approval and development process • Free services, confidential and without obligation • A free manual on how to develop a hotel in Amsterdam Contact René van Schie email@example.com +31 (0)6 1051 2483.
Blue Spoon Restaurant, at the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht
consultancy firm CBRE, the hotel market in Amsterdam performed excellently in 2011 and is expected to have developed favourably in 2012 too. CBRE’s vision for Amsterdam’s hotel market is shared by many other experts in the field. A 2012 study by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants revealed that Amsterdam is among Europe’s top performers in terms of growth in the number of overnight stays in the last five years. The report also concludes that Amsterdam is one of the most attractive cities in Europe for tourists. The demand for hotel rooms in the city is expected to increase by 2.7 per cent per year. To meet this demand, the City of Amsterdam is constantly working to add new hotel rooms to its inventory.
Kraanspoor, NDSM wharf
Amsterdam, A Metropolitan Village
This page: Kraanspoor. This 270-metre concrete buttress was once a dry dock. It now houses media companies including Discovery Channel and IdtV. Page 32: The 47-hectare Vondelpark is the cityâ€™s most popular park, and has national heritage status. Designed by landscape architect LD Zocher and opened in 1865, it is distin-
guished by its classic 19th-century Englishstyle landscaping. Page 34: The EYE Film Institute Netherlands cinematography museum, located on the northern banks of the River IJ, is home to an internationallyrenowned collection of films covering the history of cinema, from the first silent movies to the latest contemporary digital
productions. Photographer Ewout Huibers (Arnhem, 1969) studied graphic design and photography in Genk, Belgium. These pictures come from the book Amsterdam, A Metropolitan Village, a photographic tribute to the great diversity of the ultimate global village. www.ewout.tv
Familiar yet surprising
EYE Film Institute
Rijksmuseum rejuvenated Amsterdamâ€™s Golden Age art trove has reinvented itself with more than a little help from its commercial-sector friends. Head of development Hendrikje Crebolder puts us in the frame
text Mark Smith photography Jannes Linders
PRODUCTIVE PARTNERSHIPS Philips is one of the museum’s four major corporate benefactors, along with Dutch bank ING, KPN telecommunications company and the BankGiro Loterij. Together, these names are said to have donated some 27 million euros towards remodelling the interior. Does that mean they were consulted about fabric swatches and colour schemes? ‘Not at all,’ laughs Crebolder. ‘Of course, we keep them updated, but in the Netherlands we have a very
strict code for cultural sponsorship, designed to limit the influHendrikje Crebolder ence that donors can have. They can’t determine the content of an photo Vincent Mentzel exhibition, for example. We prize our independence very highly because it’s what makes us a world-leading institution. Our partners understand and respect this.’ She notes that there are mutually advantageous deals to be struck, however. The huge LED clock that’s been counting down the days on Museumplein until the 13 April reopening has been supplied by Philips. ING, meanwhile, offers its account holders a 50 per cent discount on entry to the Rijksmuseum. ‘That’s fantastic in terms of our accessibility,’ says Crebolder of the latter initiative. ‘It gets so many more people through the door, experiencing art first-hand. That’s what we’re all about. That’s why we exist.’ Speaking of accessibility, Crebolder is keen to stress that donating isn’t just the preserve of those with deep pockets. Individuals who admire the Rijksmuseum – from near or from afar – can sign up to become a ‘friend’ of the institution for as little as 50 euros per year, granting them invitations to special preview events and (of course) unrestricted queue-jumping access to the museum. Some even go on to support the institution from beyond the grave, via ‘named funds’ that can be established with a museum-related purpose in mind. For example, one deceased fan of the PAINTINGS BY NUMBERS museum pays for an annual bus 365: days per year the expedition that provides everyone Rijksmuseum is open in her provincial village with the 8,000: number of works of art opportunity to visit the Rijksmu- and historic objects seum once a year. 800: years of Dutch art and One thing’s for sure: they’ll find history represented the place much improved in 80: total number of galleries 2013. As Crebolder says of the 30,000: total building size in transformation, ‘It feels like the square metres institution is finally stepping into 12,000: total exhibition space in the light.’ < square metres 1.5: approximate walking distance through the museum’s galleries, in kilometres 5.4: length of books in the museum library, in kilometres
THE BUSINESS OF CULTURE As you admire the Rijksmuseum’s cache of now-priceless masterpieces by Golden Age big-hitters including Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt van Rijn, it’s worth remembering that it was largely thanks to the patronage of 17th-century Amsterdam’s wildly successful merchant class that these treasures came to exist in the first place. Nowadays, like any arts institution worth its salt, the museum must engage with the world of 21st-century commerce if its famous, framed inhabitants are to be maintained in the grand style to which they have become accustomed. That’s where Hendrikje Crebolder and her development team step in. Remarkably, the department was only formally established in 2008, at the request of incoming museum director Wim Pijbes, who had seen the glittering results of development initiatives at comparable institutions in the UK and USA: ‘On a very basic level you could describe what we do as fundraising,’ says Crebolder, a former employment lawyer, of her current role at the Rijksmuseum. ‘But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.’ For a decade now, the lion’s share of the Rijksmuseum building, which dominates Amsterdam’s cultural epicentre the Museumplein (Museum Square), has been closed for one of the most significant programmes of renovation ever undertaken by any museum, anywhere – at a cost of 375 million euros. Spanish architecture firm Cruz y Ortiz has turned Pierre Cuypers’ original 19th-century building into a bright, spacious place, with a jaw-dropping new light-flooded entrance, state-of-the-art facilities, restored galleries and an all-new Asian Pavilion. Parisian museum designer JeanMichel Wilmotte, famed for his work with the Louvre, has created the fixtures and furnishings. It’s fair to say that these people don’t come cheap. During the renovation process, a core, ‘greatest hits’ collection of works, such as Rembrandt’s crowd-pulling The Night Watch, has been housed in the museum’s southerly Philips Wing. If the name above the door sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same one that adorns electrical items from light bulbs to noise-cancelling headphones. ‘It has been a very natural association,’ reflects Crebolder on the museum’s relationship with the Dutch electronics giant. ‘Rembrandt and Vermeer were revolutionary in terms of their use of light, and for Philips light is an important part of their business. They work together well.’
AMS EVENTS IN
Keukenhof It’s worth the trip out of town to experience this annual theme park of flowers. Set amid the blazing carpets of tulips in the province of South Holland, the Keukenhof is an eye-popping floral fiesta featuring parades, special shows and pavilions just waiting for your camera’s attention. until 20 May | www.keukenhof.nl
text Mark Smith
Two Laughing Boys
Famous for the grand scale, intricacy and vividness of his 17th-century military paintings, Frans Hals is one of the most celebrated painters of the Dutch Golden Age, although he didn’t become really widely known until the 19th century. 2013 sees the 100th anniversary of the museum established to display his works and, in honour of this milestone, the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem presents an exhibition linking the Dutch painter’s work with that of his esteemed forebears: Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian. until 28 July | www.franshalsmuseum.nl
Peter the Great When Russia’s new leader came to power in 1682, he inherited a country which had missed out on the spoils of the European Renaissance. Not one to sit around lamenting, the plucky tsar spent time in Amsterdam, capital of the world-leading Dutch Republic, and this exhibition showcases the gilded fruits of an expedition which saw him learning about everything from shipbuilding to making paper and pulling teeth. Running until 13 September at the European satellite of the famous St Petersburg museum, it’s the cultural highlight in a year of festivities celebrating the special bond between the Netherlands and Russia.
Until 22 Sep
24 ARTZUID 2013
Reopening of the Van Gogh Museum
Royal Inauguration & Queen’s Day
Opening of Felix Meritis Observatory
Star Jubilee Concert at Concertgebouw
until 13 September | www.hermitage.nl
Royal Inauguration Queen’s Day traditionally rivals New Year’s Eve as the biggest bash of the year in the Netherlands, but celebrations will be down-sized in 2013 following the announcement that after 33 years of royal duties, 75-year-old Dutch Queen Beatrix is passing the crown to her eldest son, Willem-Alexander. Forty-five-year-old father of three Willem-Alexander will be the country’s first king since 1890. This Queen’s Day – likely the last: from 2014 onwards, Holland will celebrate King’s Day – Beatrix will abdicate at the Royal Palace before walking across Dam square to the Nieuwe Kerk, where Willem-Alexander will be sworn in. 30 April
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Felix Meritis Observatory
10 April | www.concertgebouw.nl
Situated right in the middle of the Canal Belt, Felix Meritis (Latin for ‘happy through merit’) is a self-styled ‘temple of enlightenment’ founded by 40 prosperous citizens 225 years ago, and it remains a centre for learning, hosting a varied programme of debates, lectures and theatrical performances. Its astronomical observatory – the oldest in the Netherlands – offers spectacular views over the city by night and day, and reopens this year after extensive renovation. Prepare to see Amsterdam life through a lens!
Until 21 Sep
World Interiors Salon in the Beurs van Berlage
Amsterdam Heritage Days
19 April | www.felix.meritis.nl
Live broadcast KCO concert São Paulo on Museumplein
Until 31 Aug
photo: R. Knapp
Sculpture fans can get their fix all summer long by tripping merrily between the top quality international works – some of them grand and imposing, some of them playfully childlike – that line two stately avenues in Amsterdam Zuid, one of the smartest residential neighbourhoods in the city. For four wonderful months, the Zuidas and the Churchilllaan – quintessentially wide ‘Berlage’ avenues by the iconic Amsterdam architect – become a magnificent outdoor gallery. Enjoy it while you can; ARTZUID won’t be back until 2015. 24 May-22 September | www.artzuid.com
On the eve of its momentous 125th birthday, the prestigious Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (KCO) is embarking on a world tour, visiting six continents in a single year. But Amsterdam fans won’t miss out: there will be 71 concerts at the orchestra’s Concertgebouw home base, including the Star Jubilee on 10 April featuring Dutch violinist Janine ‘Queen of the Downloads’ Jansen. On 23 June the concert in São Paulo will be broadcast live on Museumplein, and on 24 August the orchestra will be performing an outdoor concert on a pontoon on the Prinsengracht.
Every Saturday, throughout June, July and August, Amsterdam’s revered Artis Royal Zoo stays open until the sun goes down, with intimate musical performances from some of the Netherlands’ biggest talents and a series of mini-concerts by students from the prestigious Amsterdam Conservatorium music school. It all makes for a fabulous, family-friendly atmosphere. In the institution’s 175th year, it will be ablaze with the most colourful and fragrant Dutch flowers – 176,875 of them in total, as well as 36,000 plants and two special wishing trees.
Van Gogh Museum International Broadcasting Convention IBC attracts more than 50,000 attendees per year to Amsterdam’s mammoth RAI conference centre, and incorporates an exhibition of state-of-the-art electronic media technology, not to mention unbeatable networking opportunities. For anyone involved in the creation, management or delivery of entertainment worldwide, it’s a case of tune in or miss out.
photo: Jannis Linders
The Rijksmuseum isn’t the only heavyweight cultural institution that’s throwing off its bandages this spring. After its own period of remodelling, during which a capsule selection of its colourful treasures was presented in the exhibition Vincent at the Hermitage Amsterdam,, the Van Gogh Museum shows its new face to the world, with a completely revitalised permanent exhibition of the great artist’s work and correspondence. 1 May | www.vangoghmuseum.nl
12-17 July | www.ibc.org
1 June-31 August | www.artis.nl
35th Congress of the European Society of Cardiology Drawing 50,000 professionals in the field (principally from across Europe but increasingly from the rest of the world), this is the largest meet-up for heart specialists and therefore takes some beating. Delegates have been promised a dedicated cycle track leading from the centre of town to the RAI convention centre, where the congress will run until 4 September. This year’s spotlight topic? ‘The Heart Interacting With Systemic Organs’.
Emancipation in Black & White
Amsterdam Heritage Days
International Broadcasting Convention
Hiswa te Water boat show
Until 4 Sep
35th Congress of the European Society of Cardiology
31 August-4 September | www.escardio.org
Emancipation in Black & White Marking 150 years since the abolition of slavery, this ground-breaking exhibition at the city’s ‘Museum of the Tropics’ explores the issue of integration in Dutch society. More than simply an exhibition, Emancipation in Black & White it is a national project aimed at provoking dialogue and contemplation. From 18 October | www.tropenmuseum.nl
Amsterdam Light Festival
Presenting Western and non-Western masterpieces from the elite worlds of dance, theatre and music since 1947, this trend-setting performing arts festival is a sell-out year after year. As well as taking over the city’s most prestigious performance spaces, such as the grand Stadsschouwburg, the action spreads to less conventional platforms – a recent Chekhov production took place in an unoccupied office, for example. Confirmed highlights of this year’s programme include Sunken Garden, a multimedia collaboration between David Cloud Atlas Mitchell and Dutch composer Michel van der Aa.
Everything is illuminated for the second edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival, which sheds light on some of the city centre’s most beautiful and historical locations during six of the bleakest winter weeks. Art installations, light exhibits, a canal parade and illuminated walking routes explore and celebrate the play of light and water that so enchanted some of the city’s Golden Age artists. 28 November-19 January 2014 | www.amsterdamlightfestival.com
1-26 June | www.hollandfestival.nl
Amsterdam Heritage Days There are four editions of ‘Monumentendag’ this year in Amsterdam, each celebrating and exploring the history of different iconic buildings via guided tours, story-telling and debate. On account of the 400th anniversary of the canals, these special editions have a Golden Age flavour.
Hans was Heiri photo: Mario del Curto
Concertgebouw Christmas Matinee
Until 19 Jan 2014
Amsterdam Light Festival
Arrival of Sinterklass
November Museum Night
TCS Amsterdam Marathon
Cinekid Children’s film festival
13 & 14 July | 14 & 15 September www.amsterdam.nl/openmonumentendag
â€˜Our curriculum is internationalismâ€™ 42 AMS
A thousand students from over 50 countries, an ECO School Gold Award and a new addition to the acclaimed organic building: Dr Edward Greene, Director of the International School of Amsterdam, explains why institutions like his clinch the deal for foreign companies investing in the Amsterdam Area. text Megan Roberts photography Thijs Wolzak
WORK PLACE students from many different cultural backgrounds, and to international demands for further education. ‘There’s a separate reality for some international workers,’ says Dr Edward Greene, the school’s director since 2003. ‘They go from city to city, taking their kids from one school to another. Because we offer the International Baccalaureate (IB), it’s easier for students to go from an international school in Bangkok to our school in Amsterdam than it is to move between public schools in the United States – from a public school in San Francisco, say, to one in Chicago – where the curriculums can vary so much. ‘Additionally, the IB is an internationally respected qualification. There can be no question about the validity of the qualification,’ asserts Greene – unlike in some other education systems where the standard of a THE BUSINESS OF EDUCATION qualification is dependent upon the reputaIn spite of the difficult economic climate, tion of the awarding school. Consequently, 2012 saw 126 new foreign firms set up students matriculating from the International shop around the Dutch capital, swelling the number of international companies operating School of Amsterdam in 2012 were awarded places at such prestigious institutions as the in the region to more than 2,000. AccordUK’s Oxford, LSE and St Andrew’s universiing to amsterdam inbusiness, the presence ties, and Princeton and Stanford universities of high-quality, internationally oriented in the US. schools is an increasingly important facBut catering to a diverse international comtor when those businesses are determining where to locate their offices. The Netherlands munity is not without its difficulties, acknowledges Greene. Helping parents understand is known around the world for its pursuit of the curriculum can be challenge, he says: ‘The internationalisation in every field, and in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area alone there are IB doesn’t necessarily assess progress in the ten diverse international schools – including a same way or by the same measures as other French Lycée and a Japanese school support- country-specific systems. That can be hard for some parents to accept.’ ed by that country’s chamber of commerce And: ‘When kids move from country to counand government. try, leaving behind friendships, there’s always The International School of Amsterdam (ISA) has been serving the expat community a psychological disruption. It’s a great experiin the region since 1964, and is recognised in ence for young people, but it does present problems. Kids aren’t growing roots in their the Netherlands, Europe and worldwide as own countries. We help them grow roots here.’ a leader in international education. ISA was the first authorised IB World School, offering Having lived and worked across the globe, International Baccalaureate programmes from Dr Greene is familiar with the expat experience and aware that the school fulfils a greater pre-school through to grade 12. Every year, function than simply educating international educators from around the globe – includstudents. ing Australia, Africa and the USA – visit the ‘For our parents, the school is a home away school to learn the reasons for its success. from home. At nine-fifteen on any weekday Currently, more than 1,000 students from morning, when all the kids have gone off to over 50 countries study at the Amstelveen lessons, the cafeteria is still filled with parents campus, with more on waiting lists – a clear – maybe reminiscing about home or perhaps indicator of the school’s strong reputation among its parent community and client com- taking an informal language lesson. We have kids from over 50 countries, teachers from panies, which include Nike, Shell and ING. 25. It’s a truly international school – the curExpat parents – or their employers – pay riculum is for international understanding,’ he a premium for a form of education that concludes. responds both to the individual needs of
The International School of Amsterdam is recognised in the Netherlands, Europe and worldwide as a leader in international education
FORM MEETS FUNCTION Designed according to organic principles by Dutch architecture firm Alberts & Van Huut, ISA’s 20,000m2 red-brick campus was conceived to seamlessly integrate form and function. The same architects have designed an extension currently under consideration. ‘When you walk in the front doors, there’s a feeling, a warmth – architecturally as well as from the people who work and study here,’ says the school’s American director, Dr Edward Greene. ‘Everybody remarks on it the first time they visit. ‘The building was designed so that students and teachers can learn together. There’s no long, imposing hallway with isolated rooms leading off it; classrooms are arranged in clusters – so the whole of grade five, for example, is together. Teachers love teaching here, because it’s a truly purpose-built school that perfectly reflects and responds to our purpose and values.’
A tale of tulips and sprinkles the fickle Dutch sun just as much as the next vitamin-D deprived cloggie. Yet, some Dutch behaviours are destined to for ever remain cultural oddities. The Dutch diet falls squarely into that category: the copious consumption of dairy and bread is a sight to behold, the obsession with mashing Of course, we all know the stereotypes and the life out of all vegetables is quite baffling overplayed icons surrounding the Dutch. Who and the ‘unique’ tasting liquorice (aka drop) can pick up a travel brochure on the Nethis most definitely an acquired taste. But of all erlands and not find a mention of windmills, the Dutch edible eccentricities, hagelslag tops clogs, cheese and tulips? Yes, a rather clichéd my list. bunch, but also quintessentially Dutch – apart For those of you who have yet to discover from the tulips, that is. this oddity, hagelslag is the Dutch version of Tulips, you see, are not originally Dutch; sprinkles. In North America and the UK, their colourful presence in the Netherlands is sprinkles are reserved for ice-cream and cake owed to the Ottoman Empire. Although not – and most notably for children. However, their own, the Dutch took to the tulip, and here in the Netherlands, it is perfectly northe flower trade in general, like bees to honey. mal behaviour for a grown adult to merrily Even today, flower exports make up a 5 billion sprinkle chocolate sprinkles on their bread at euro industry – and chances are the roses you mealtime. gave your loved one last year in Utah were born and bred on Dutch soil. Think I’m exaggerating? Well, to put this Tulips and the Dutch have an illustrious but sprinkle-eating madness into perspective, chequered past, a love-hate relationship of the Dutch consume over 14 million kilos of sorts, and one for the history books. At their hagelslag each year. The only theory I can height of Golden Age popularity, a single bulb come up with as to why such a national could fetch ten times the annual salary of a phenomenon exists is that in a country where skilled worker or as much as a picturesque two-thirds of daily meals are bread-based canal house. In 1637, however, irrational en(breakfast: bread, lunch: surprise, surprise thusiasm for the flowers triggered a speculative – bread again) the Dutch are quite literally frenzy and the tulip market took a dive like no starving for variety. other. Many a Dutchie lost their entire fortune Personally, I can do without such colourin what came to be known as tulip mania. ful meals, but if this sugar-filled treat brings Can the irrationality of tulip mania explain a smile to a Dutch person’s face on a rainy other obsessions of the Dutch? Perhaps not, bread-eating day, then I’m all for it. Let’s but there’s no denying that the Dutch do seem all just be thankful that the Dutch economy to rally around their particular cultural traits doesn’t rely on this particular Dutch obsesand traditions with feverish enthusiasm. After sion… yet. nearly eight years living in this country, many Now go on and poke your head into a Dutch a Dutch habit has wiggled its way into my home and see if you can enjoy a sprinkle daily life. I’ll be the first to admit that Dutch sandwich while marvelling over the enchantdirectness suits me just fine, I’d chose a bike ing beauty, and history, of the tulip. over a car any day and I’ve come to worship at every turn. It certainly has mine. <
Going Dutch Colleen Geske is the author of the blog Stuff Dutch People Like, which celebrates, questions and pokes fun at all things Dutch (stuffdutchpeoplelike.com). photo Robin de Puy
‘I’ll be the first to admit that Dutch directness suits me just fine, I’d chose a bike over a car any day and I’ve come to worship the fickle Dutch sun just as much as the next vitamin-D deprived cloggie’
Whether you’ve just arrived in the Lowlands, have been here for years or are just passing through, I would challenge you to take a peek into any Dutch home on a sunny spring day and not find two particular items on the breakfast table: tulips and hagelslag.
IT STARTED IN AMSTERDAM
Henk Markerink, CEO Amsterdam ArenA
Amsterdam ArenA was the world’s first multifunctional football stadium. With its unique Advisory subsidiary, it is now the ‘mother ship’ of a number of successful stadiums around the world – including Brazil’s 2014 FIFA World Cup venues
text Hans Kops photography Mike Roelofs
IT STARTED IN AMSTERDAM
‘The ArenA is a nucleus for innovations in many different areas’
print: less energy is used (the stadium aims to be carbon neutral by 2015) and waste is recycled wherever possible. Suppliers, for example, are only allowed to use biodegradable packaging materials. Even the financing is innovative. Amsterdam ArenA is one of the first successful examples of a public-private partnership in Europe: the government (the Municipality of Amsterdam) and the business community (the listed Ajax football club and the depositary receipt holders) took the initiative for the development and construction, and the shareholders are still working together in harmony. The public-private concept also proved beneficial for the development of the area around the stadium. Two world-class music venues were built in record time, just a stone’s throw from the ArenA: the Heineken Music Hall and the Ziggo Dome. Other neighbours include a multi-screen cinema and furniture mall. SPECIAL SPIN-OFF ‘The ArenA is a nucleus for innovations in many different areas,’ says Henk Markerink with visible satisfaction, at his office in the stadium’s outer ring. Once stadium director, Markerink is now CEO, and his responsibilities include managing a very special spin-off: the Amsterdam ArenA Advisory (AAA). ‘There was so much foreign interest in the concept and our operations from the start that we decided to set up a separate business,’ he says. ‘The people who work for the Amsterdam ArenA Advisory bring together a wealth of knowledge and expertise on the construction and use of this unique multifunctional sports stadium. Together with our partner network, we help parties build or renovate their stadiums in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible, and we advise them how to generate additional revenue and success from the stadium’s use following a large sports event.’ The Amsterdam ArenA Advisory successfully exports the knowledge and experience from the Amsterdam ArenA model across the world. Projects that the Advisory has been involved in recently include the development and construction of the Schalke Arena in the German city of Gelsenkirchen and the realisation of four stadiums for the UEFA Euro 2012 Football Championship in Poland and Ukraine. AAA was also asked by the authorities in Beijing to provide recommendations on how to attract event organisers to the city’s iconic Bird’s Nest, in the aftermath of the 2008 Olympic Games. ‘When a large sports event is organised, the majority of energy and manpower goes into realising the event on time and creating the most spectacular result possible. But once
STRENGTH IN DIVERSITY The opening of the Amsterdam ArenA in 1996 marked the addition of another popular attraction for the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area – and not just for football fans. Delegations from across the world came to south-east Amsterdam to see for themselves how the world’s first spaceship-shaped multifunctional football stadium with retractable roof was designed, constructed and financed. But above all, they came to learn more about its use and operational management. The inspiration those delegates gained from this experience has already proven fruitful around the world. Amsterdam ArenA is now the ‘mother ship’ of many other multipurpose stadiums that have since been built according to the same design and organisation – in Europe and Russia, as well as in China, Brazil and Morocco. And perhaps in Qatar in the not-too-distant future. Amsterdam ArenA’s success comes from the fact that it was conceived as more than just a sports stadium. Besides AFC Ajax matches – the home football team – some 50 other ‘non-football’ events are held in the stadium each year, from pop concerts to product presentations and business gatherings. All this is made possible by the ArenA’s retractable roof, the fact that it is one of the largest venues in Europe and because creating a sports stadium with an unparalleled level of hospitality was an objective right from the design stage. To ensure order and calm among the 2 million or so people who visit the stadium each year, crowd control was a main priority. And to enhance the visitors’ sense of safety, comfort and security, the ArenA management developed its own payment system and set up a training course to turn the 2,000 staff employed during peak events into first-class hosts and hostesses. The ArenA also has top-quality catering facilities and optimal acoustics. Not that the stadium’s main purpose was compromised: the ArenA was used as a testing ground for endless experiments with grass varieties and growing techniques, culminating in the selection of a strain that would flourish in the microclimate, under an often-closed roof. The same attention was paid to improving the sustainability of the ArenA. The experience gained from trial and error has been used to significantly improve the stadium’s environmental foot-
IT STARTED IN AMSTERDAM and Henk Markerink is very conscious of the huge honour bestowed on his organisation in playing a role in making that happen. With advice from the Amthe event has been held, the stadium in its existing form often proves too big or too specific for the city’s other games and requirements. This sterdammers, the Grémio Arena in Porto Alegre was results in what we call “white elephants”: beautiful and modern but empty stadiums. That’s why you have to think about the stadium’s sub- completed in December last year. It is the first ever sequent use beforehand. This has to be taken into account during the multifunctional stadium in design stage and in the context of financing, so that it’s easier to make any modifications that might be necessary. We at the ArenA have plenty South America. ‘We provided input for the of experience in that respect, too.’ conceptual design and now we’re helping the manageCYCLE OF GLOBAL EVENTS The demand for new consultancy services continues to grow, according ment in the start-up stage. Teams of our people have to Markerink. The 15 permanent employees of the Amsterdam ArenA been temporarily seconded to Porto Alegre Advisory and their partner companies have their hands full following the cycles of sports events around the world. The Olympic Games take for this and we have set up a course for future place once every four years, as does the FIFA World Cup, and in the in- stewards. It’s wonderfully challenging work, terim there are plenty of continental champ-ionships, such as the Africa both for our seconded stewards – who are being given the opportunity to convey their Cup tournament and the experiences with this work to people in another European and Latin American football championships. Host countries build new stadiums or renovate and reorganise existing structures for all country and from a completely different culture – and for the candidates in Brazil, many of these events. whom come from the favelas. An added mate‘Most of our focus is on Brazil at the moment, where the FIFA World rial advantage of this project is that it offers Cup is to be held, followed by the Olympic Games,’ says Markerink. these people the chance of a different life. ‘Advanced plans have been drawn up to help the Russians with their ‘Our business partners have been very active World Cup in 2018 and we’re holding exploratory talks with Qatar, in Brazil in our wake. In Control – a company who will be hosting it in 2022. The last event in particular is bound to that helped us develop our crowd-control present challenges for stadium concept and has since grown rapidly – has acconstructors, as the setting this Amsterdam ArenA Advisory time round will be a mid-summer tivities in Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro. And a company that specialises in acoustics is also desert climate. Amsterdam ArenA Advisory often called in to Brazil now. It’s very appealing ‘You often also see a knock-on (AAA) is a team of expert for companies like these to be in the shop wineffect once a multifunctional staconsultants specialised dium like the ArenA has been built dow of one of the fastest-growing economies in in the conception, in a country. The benefits enjoyed the world.’ development and operation by the home team of such a stadi- But that’s not the only flywheel effect of the of multifunctional sportsBrazilian encounter with the Amsterdam um are so prolific that competing oriented venues. A full clubs and their stadium operators ArenA Advisory. Since a base has been set up subsidiary of the Amsterdam in Brazil, there has been intensive contact bewant to take the same step.’ ArenA, AAA was founded to tween, for example, Sao Paulo and the MuniciThe Amsterdam ArenA Advisory share the skills developed pality of Amsterdam, as a shareholder of the has now set up its own office in in making the ArenA ArenA. This has already resulted in the sharing Brazil, ArenA do Brasil, which sustainable and profitable. of knowledge (and civil servants) on how the is managed by a former seller of With a branch in Porto Dutch Fokker aircraft in the coun- local sports infrastructure can be set up and Alegre, Brazil, AAA has in different exchange projects in the areas of try. The office is closely involved consulted for successful education and municipal waste processing. in many stadium projects in the stadiums across Europe, ‘And so you see, the spin-off of a unique context of the fast-approaching Asia, South America, Africa stadium like the ArenA can be very surprising,’ FIFA World Cup, which will and the USA, helping create laughs Henk Markerink. < be held in June and July 2014. venues for multiple iterations With the national honour of this of the FIFA World Cup and football-crazy country at stake, it the Olympics, among others. is imperative the event is a success,
‘You often see a knock-on effect once a multifunctional stadium like the ArenA has been built in a country’
The BrazilNetherlands connection in historical context painting: Collection Rijksmuseum
The Netherlands has been one of the top five investors in Brazil for more than 20 years. The relationship dates back to the 17th-century In the Rijksmuseum collection there is a picture by Frans Post (1612-1680) called ‘The Island Itamaracá with the Fort Orange’, dated 1637. In the centre of the picture, surrounded by lush greenery, Fort Orange can just be detected, with its slanting yellow-white walls and orange saddle roof. In 1630, the Dutch Republic had finally succeeded in seizing parts of north-eastern Brazil from the Portuguese, following a failed attempt from 1624 to 1625. For nearly 25 years, this area would be known as New Holland (Nieuw Holland) or Dutch Brazil (Hollantsch Brazil). Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau-Siegen, was Governor of New Holland from 1637 until 1644. He ordered the construction of a new capital, ‘Mauritsstad’, on the island of Antônio Vaz – and at the same time commissioned the construction
of the Mauritshuis back in his fatherland. Maurits’s palace, called ‘Casa Friburgo’ by the Portuguese, was famed for its Classical Dutch style. Pioneering scientists worked in Maurits’s service, and famous painters – including Frans Post himself – were also part of the royal household. The most visible sign of Maurits’s time as governor may be the string of fortifications he left behind, but his greatest impact was the establishment of a parliament. Even today, this feat is considered as the initiation of the national democracy. However, the colony of New Holland did not last. Infighting, profit shortfalls and receding investment were coupled with increased resistance from the Portuguese, and in 1654 Dutch Brazil was transferred back to Portuguese forces. Many years later, in the 19th century there was a return to the democratic principles of Johan Maurits van Nassau. In this light, Brazil gained independence from Portugal.
Dutchmen in Brazil
Science Park Amsterdam With 70 hectares devoted to exploration, enterprise and education, Science Park Amsterdam is the pre-eminent European hub for scientific research and technology.
THE SCIENCE OF HISTORY Until the 17th century, the area where Science Park Amsterdam now stands lay entirely under water. More than four metres below sea level, it took revolutionary technological advancement for the land to be reclaimed in 1629. Appropriately, today this 70-hectare polder – bigger than 98 football pitches – is home to the largest concentration of beta sciences in Europe. Also hosting the University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science, the Amsterdam University College, dozens of renowned research institutes and some 120 companies – from start-ups to multinationals – all working in the fields of IT, advanced technology, life sciences and sustainability, Science Park Amsterdam has become a vibrant melting pot where business, science and innovation meet. COLLABORATION BY DESIGN Science Park Amsterdam is a joint venture of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the City of Amsterdam and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. This unique juncture of prestigious education, high-quality research and knowledge-intensive business has been carefully cultivated to stimulate innovation and collaboration. The carefully considered urban planning of the park, with semi-public meeting places in and between the five building strips, encourages interaction and facilitates free movement.
MATRIX Innovation Center provides office space and lab facilities to young, dynamic and innovative science companies in several multi-tenant buildings. The newest addition, MATRIX VI, opened in February 2013. With some 6,000 m2 of fully equipped, flexible, modern and sustainable combined office and laboratory spaces, designed specifically for the chemical industry and life sciences sector, MATRIX VI takes science and business integration to the next level. RESEARCH HUB Boasting the highest concentration of publicly-funded research in the Netherlands, Science Park Amsterdam is currently home to three institutes of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research: the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF), the Centre for Mathematics and Computer Sciences and the National Institute for Subatomic Physics. In 2012, it was announced that a fourth – the Dutch institute for space research expertise, SRON – would relocate from Utrecht to Science Park Amsterdam. The hundreds of researchers working within these institutes include several winners of the Spinoza Prize and European Research Grants. They carry out pioneering and inspirational research in fields including multimedia, grid computing, visualisation, system biology, nanophotonics, cryptology, smart grids, particle physics and microscopy. Together, they provide international research support for businesses including Michelin, Philips, AkzoNobel, Shell, Nikon, IBM, Microsoft, and more. And there are also numerous innovative spin-offs uniting science and business: Photanol BV, for example, harnesses the abil-
Science Park Amsterdam is home to the largest concentration of beta sciences in Europe Zaanstad Amsterdam Harbour
Zuidas Science Park Amsterdam
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
ity of bacteria to capture energy from sunlight fastest in the Netherlands, complete with a revolutionary eco-cooling system, and can and convert CO2 into organic compounds, perform more than 1 quadrillion calculations thereby creating negative carbon footprints. per second. That’s 20 times faster than its predecessor or nearest rival. DIGITAL DEVELOPMENTS Another recent addition to Science Park’s One of the most densely cabled locations in thriving IT community is the third AmsterEurope, Science Park Amsterdam is home dam-based data centre of American comto more than 150 network hubs. It houses pany Equinix. Peter Van Camp, executive internet exchanges such as AMS-IX (one of chairman at Equinix, is a fifth-generation the largest data transport hubs in the world, Dutch-American and not only immensely known for its superior quality and low costs) proud of his Dutch roots, but also of the and NL-ix (Netherlands Internet Exchange), and is capable of reaching 80 per cent of cus- Dutch focus on innovation, which is reflected in Equinix’s flagship data centre, one of tomers in Europe within 50 milliseconds. The Science Park’s computing and communi- the most sustainable worldwide. Explaining cations credentials date back many decades. their choice of location, they cited Science Park’s unparalleled combination of quality In the 1960s, the Centre for Mathematics education, research and entrepreneurship. and Computer Science (CWI) developed important programming languages such as EDUCATION Algol60, the first language to implement nested function definitions with lexical scope, Science Park Amsterdam is home to a valuable pool of highly-qualified students. and more recently Python, widely used by The UvA Faculty of Science accommodates companies such as Google and Amazon. 4,000 students studying biology, computer In April 1986, the ‘.nl’ domain was recorded sciences, astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, by CWI. The Netherlands became the first physics, chemistry and life sciences. Since active country domain outside the United September 2012, the 900 students of the States and a few short years later, scientists prestigious Amsterdam University College at CWI conducted a short email correspondhave also called the Science Park home. ence via NSFnet, the American academic This unique proximity of leading scientists, computer network and forerunner of today’s internet. The CWI was the first non-American well-trained students and high-quality technical facilities such as the AMS-IX makes body thus connected, and in those early Science Park Amsterdam an extremely atdays, all transatlantic internet traffic passed tractive proposition for businesses. Award through it. Nowadays, Science Park Amwinning architecture, and the rapidly exsterdam is home to the supercomputers of panding cultural facilities – plus initiatives SURFSara, the national computer centre that provides computing resources to all universi- such as last year’s inaugural Science Park Amsterdam Film Festival (SPAFF)– mean ties and research centres in the Netherlands. their staff are more than happy here, too. SURFSara’s newest supercomputer is the
illustration: Rob de Wit (Art Box)
PHOTANOL BV biotechnologybased production of commercial organic chemicals, including biofuels
Outside the picture on the left: IJBURG The cityâ€™s new residential district, built on reclaimed land with 18,000 houses and 45,000 citizens
EQUINIX AM3 Data centre
GREENHOUSE University of Amsterdam
RING ROAD A10 TO BE DEVELOPED 155,000m2
HOTEL AND CONFERENCE FACILITIES 200 rooms; 2,500m2 conference space
MATRIX INNOVATION CENTER Multi-tenant buildings for ICT and life sciences
MATRIX VI 6,000m2 multi-tenant building, with lab space and offices
UNIVERSITY SPORT CENTRE With Café Restaurant De Oerknal
NIKON INSTRUMENTS EUROPE Centre of Excellence
NIKHEF National Institute For Subatomic Physics VENTURE LAB AMSTERDAM AMSTERDAM SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS
AMS-IX TRAIN STATION Amsterdam Central: 10 min Schiphol Airport: 30 min
BLUEBUBBLELAB SURFSARA NETHERLANDS ESCIENCE CENTER
1&12 VENTURES CWI Dutch National Research Centre for Mathematics and Computer Sciences
AMOLF Dutch institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics
FACULTY OF SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM 4,000 students
CAFÉ RESTAURANT POLDER
AMSTERDAM UNIVERSITY COLLEGE 900 students
BORN & BRED
‘The house is light and airy, because of all the glass.’
‘This painting is by a pre-war Amsterdam female artist.’
‘Binky, the family dog.’ ‘My wife, Viviane Stradmeijer, is a notary.’
Local entrepreneurs photographed in their own homes Reinier Russell, Honorary Consul of Brazil in Amsterdam and partner at Russell Advocaten law firm Born and raised in Amsterdam
‘These books are mainly cookery books on the lower shelves, and Dutch literature higher up.’
‘These are our daughters Olivia (11) and Julia (16).’
‘Lucas is 13. My elder son, Tomas, is away studying at Delft University.’
‘This is Ajax – named after the football team. Our other cat is called Rover.’
BORN & BRED
‘Amsterdam is the gateway to Europe’
text Megan Roberts photo Thijs Wolzak
Native Amsterdammer Reinier Russell on the Dutch-Brazilian connection and what makes the Metropolitan Area such a magnet for entrepreneurs.
‘The Dutch have been a trading nation since the 17th century,’ says Reinier Russell, speaking over the telephone from the Brazilian consulate in Amsterdam, where he has served as Honorary Consul since 1994. ‘Amsterdam traders invented the stock market: we have centuries of experience in business and trade, so of course we’re very good at it – and people know that.’ Russell, born and raised in Amsterdam, should know: his law firm, Russell Advocaten, has won several international awards for its service to clients and has been listed in the European Legal 500 for seven years in a row. The lawyers at Russell Advocaten provide full-service corporate and commercial advice and litigation to companies working in fields as diverse as fashion and IT, retail and real estate, as well as foreign government authorities – in Dutch, English, German and French where necessary. ‘We have some 180 nationalities within the Metropolitan Area, and the working population is truly multilingual: everyone speaks English; most people speak Dutch; many speak additional languages. It is easy for international companies to operate within our country, because we can operate in multiple languages,’ Russell explains. ‘Plus, Amsterdam is the gateway to Europe,’ he continues. ‘We have Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, a great hub to all the countries of Europe and beyond; a good environment for foreigners to live in; a stable economy; a stable government; good infrastructure.’ And in spite of a troubling economic climate, the
Amsterdam Area remains an attractive prospect for foreign investors: ‘We have a very favourable business climate: we have 12 Fortune 500 listed companies, and major IT and data centre companies have already set up their businesses here. Amsterdam ranks as the third most innovative city of the world, behind only Paris and Boston. But the easy-going lifestyle and the exceptional cultural environment are why I love to live here.’ In addition to his law firm, Russell, who lives in Amsterdam with his wife and three youngest children (plus a menagerie of pets), is also the Honorary Consul of Brazil. ‘There’s been a good relationship between Brazil and the Netherlands since the 17th century,’ he says. ‘Johan Maurits was the Dutch governor of Brazil from 1636-1644, and the country flourished under his direction. He brought prosperity and knowledge to Brazil; he took sugar, which made the Dutch rich. The Netherlands has been in the top five biggest investors in Brazil for at least two decades.’ Russell’s broad experience and expertise sees him much in demand: as a lecturer at the VU University Amsterdam (where he himself studied); as Secretary of the Amsterdam Consular Corps; as a board member of the Holland America Friendship Foundation and of several other charitable organisations. He has written numerous articles related to his areas of expertise, and is the co-author of the book Dealing with the Dutch: An Introduction to Dutch Business Law, an introduction to the most important legal rules for entrepreneurs setting up a company in the Netherlands. ‘We are day-to-day advisors to the entrepreneur,’ Russell concludes. Embodying the famous Dutch entrepreneurial spirit himself, Russell seems exceptionally well placed to offer that advice.
AMS FACTS ABOUT
Close to the markets that matter The so-called ‘Blue Banana’ (also known as the Hot Banana, European Megalopolis or European Backbone), extends from northwest England in the north down to Milan in the south, and covers one of the world’s highest concentrations of people, money and industry. The Amsterdam Metropolitan Area sits at its centre, with easy access to Europe’s approximately 500 million potential customers. It also sits in the heart of the European euro zone.
Schiphol was voted the best European Airport and fourth best of the world after Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai at the Business Traveller Awards 2011.
Amsterdam’s ranking in top 5 most liveable European capitals Best cities to live in (Quality of Living Index, Mercer, 2012) City rank Vienna (Austria) 1 Copenhagen (Denmark) 2 Bern (Switzerland) 3 Amsterdam (Netherlands) 4 Berlin (Germany) 5
530 milion consumers live within a 1,300 km (800 miles) radius of Amsterdam
(Source: Quality of Living Index, Mercer, 2012)
AMS FACTS ABOUT
Netherlandsâ€™ international position in ICT development rankings The Netherlands climbed one place in the 2012 ICT development rankings compiled by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a specialised agency of the United Nations. Country Sweden Singapore Finland Denmark Switzerland Netherlands Norway United States Canada United Kingdom
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Score 5.94 5.86 5.81 5.70 5.61 5.60 5.59 5.56 5.51 5.50
(Source: Measuring the Information Society, ITU 2012)
Best Airport in Europe The results are based on 12 million passenger surveys completed during a ten-month period, covering over 385 airports. The survey evaluates the total passenger experience across 39 airport service and product features, from arrival at an airport through transit and departure processes to the boarding gate.
Airport Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Munich Airport Zurich Airport London Heathrow Airport Copenhagen Airport Frankfurt Main Airport Barcelona International Airport Helsinki Vantaa Airport Hamburg Airport Athens International Airport (Source: World Airport Awards, Skytrax, 2012)
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Amsterdamâ€™s European city ranking in terms of languages spoken City Rank London (United Kingdom) 1 Brussels (Belgium) 2 Amsterdam (Netherlands) 3 Stockholm (Sweden) 4 Geneva (Switzerland) 5 (Source: European Cities Monitor, 2011)
Logistics Position on the World Bank’s Logistic Performance Index in 2012
Netherlands’ international global connectedness ranking DHL’s comprehensive analysis of the state of globalisation ranked 140 countries according to the depth and breadth of their integration in world economies. Geography, openness of the economy and international trade outlook were all taken into account. The Netherlands has been ranked number one since the survey’s first edition, in 2005. Netherlands Singapore Luxembourg Ireland Switzerland United Kingdom Belgium Sweden Denmark Germany (Source: Global Connectedness Index, DHL 2012)
The ‘Blue Banana’ comprises the European economic heartland (50% of European GDP)
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
tenth The Heidrick & Struggles Global Talent Index (GTI) uses quantitative and qualitative data to measure the economic indicators, cultural contexts, trends in education, foreign direct investment (FDI), mortality, health and market fluidity that will impact the ability of talent to thrive within a country. Country United States Denmark Finland Norway Singapore Australia Sweden Hong Kong Switzerland Netherlands
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
(Source: Global Talent Index 2011 -2015, Heindrick & Struggles, 2012)
Country Singapore Hong Kong, China Finland Germany Netherlands Denmark Belgium Japan United States United Kingdom
AMS FACTS ABOUT
The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 assesses the competitiveness landscape of 144 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. The Report series remains the most comprehensive assessment of national competitiveness worldwide.
Country Switzerland Singapore Finland Sweden Netherlands Germany
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6
Score 5.72 5.67 5.55 5.53 5.50 5.48
(Source: Global Competitiveness index, World Economic Forum, 2012)
number 1 Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was voted ‘Best Airport in Europe’ for the 18th time, and ‘Best Air Cargo Terminal in Europe’ for the 13th at the 2012 Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards for the high quality of its cargo facilities and the efficiency of its cargo transshipment process.
(Source: Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards, 2012)
The Netherlands’ ranking among the world’s most innovative countries Country Switzerland Sweden Singapore Finland United Kingdom Netherlands Denmark Hong Kong Ireland United States
Score 68.2 64.8 63.5 61.8 61.2 60.5 59.9 58.7 58.7 57.7
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
(Source: The Global Innovation Index 2012, INSEAD, 2012)
At-a-glance: the Dutch tax system Bred for progress and expansion, the Dutch tax system is transparent and stable – and flexible enough to anticipate the rapidly-changing requirements of international economic flows. Companies established in the Netherlands profit from various tax advantages, including:
1 A competitive corporate tax rate well below EU average 2 Advance tax assessment certainty on future transactions, investments or corporate structures 3 Participation Exemption: all benefits relating to a qualifying shareholding (including cash dividends, dividends-in-kind, bonus shares, hidden profit distributions and capital gains) are exempt from Dutch corporate income tax 4 Double taxation relief for individuals via the Royal Decree for the Avoidance of Double Taxation 5 The Innovation Box: an effective tax rate of 5% for income related to a patent or an R&D declaration (certain conditions apply) 6 No withholding of tax on outgoing interest and royalty payments 7 No capital-tax levy on the contribution of capital to a company and any later expansion of share capital
8 The 30% ruling for expats: tax-free reimbursement of 30% of an employee’s salary, provided that the employee has been recruited or assigned from abroad and has specific expertise which is scarce in the present Dutch labour market 9 Horizontal Supervision: the Dutch tax authority is the first in the world to make prior arrangements with large and medium-sized taxable businesses on the tax liabilities expected in the course of the year, and how they are going to manage them. If tax payers can show they have an adequate ‘tax control framework’, then in principle no tax audits are needed for determining the tax liability 10 Tax treaties with the majority of the world’s trading nations, which prevent double taxation for businesses 11 The Netherlands has excellent tax facilities for distribution and transport companies. These facilities avoid unnecessary leakage of VAT and custom duties
AAA The Netherlands’ long-term credit rating
Credit rating agency S&P has conferred the highest credit rating possible on the Netherlands, a reflection of the solid state of the Dutch economy and public finances.
Amsterdam’s ranking in top 5 European cities to locate a business City London (United Kingdom) Paris (France) Frankfurt (Germany) Amsterdam (Netherlands) Berlin (Germany)
Rank 1 2 3 4 5
(Source: European Cities Monitor, 2011)
COLOPHON Editorial board Frans van der Avert, Hilde van der Meer Editor-in-Chief Bart van Oosterhout Art Director Sabine Verschueren Designers Arjen van den Houten, Sandra Nakken, Zlatka Siljdedic Translator Heather Lane Copy Editor Megan Roberts Contributors Colleen Geske, Hans Kops, Robin de Puy, Mike Roelofs, Eline Ronner, Russell Shorto, Mark Smith, Thijs Wolzak, Raimond Wouda
(Source: Standard & Poor’s Rating Services, 2013)
Innovating aviation 64 AMS
Seamlessly uniting people, companies, logistics and retail, for more than half a century Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has been leading the aviation world. No wonder it was named International Airport of the Year 2012 text Megan Roberts photography Raimond Wouda
fully automated public address systems free up personnel. In 2001, Schiphol pioneered iris scan recognition technology via the Privium programme, and as of 2011, revolutionary baggage robots load 60 per cent of all baggage at Schiphol (around 33 million items per year). Another key innovation at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol A HISTORY OF INNOVATION In 1998, Schiphol introduced the world to the AirportCity is SmartGate Cargo, an integrated system to check goods leaving the EU from Schiphol. Its features include the formula. The product of decades, the AirportCity was built by developing facilities and services that are tailored Customs Control Centre (a central customs booth) and to satisfy the demands of airlines, passengers and visitors. the Cargo Checkpoint (a drive-through facility proThe concept has since been adopted by dozens of airports vided with the latest scanning equipment for checks and inspections). The ensuing one-stop inspection of all cargo around the world, but Schiphol continues to distinguish and renew itself with innovative technology and concepts. containers has considerably accelerated and enhanced the inspection process, and the entire sector benefits from reBy developing the airport in response to the wishes of its duced costs, while any disruptions to operations are kept users, Schiphol has often led the way in launching novel to a minimum. facilities. For example, it was the first airport to have a In the past few years Corporate Responsibility has steadWorld Trade Center on its grounds (1996) and a casino ily become a more integral part of Amsterdam Airport in the terminal (1993). Schiphol was also the first airport Schiphol’s strategy and business processes. Amsterdam with a museum: the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol annex Airport Schiphol intends to be climate-neutral in respect of the Rijksmuseum has exhibited Old Master paintings of all its own on-site activities by 2012 and to rely on sussince 2002. Other unique facilities are the XpresSpa beauty and well- tainable energy for 20% of all its energy needs by 2020. ness centres (2008) and the Fokker 100 aircraft placed CONNECTING THE WORLD on the Panorama terrace in 2011. That year also saw the At Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, efficiency and reliability opening of the world’s first ‘Airport Park’, in Lounge 1. The Schiphol App guides travellers through the airport in are of paramount importance. The airport’s close proximity to the Port of Amsterdam and the Port of Rotterdam multiple languages – including Mandarin Chinese. makes it a key part of a thriving logistics triangle for cargo Self-service check-in kiosks enable transfer passengers transportation, and it is further supported by a wide rail to print their own boarding passes, while 2008 saw the launch of Self-Service Drop-Off Points (SSDOPs), which and road transport network. For passengers, as well as cargo, all the main European markets are easily accessible enable passengers to print their own barcode labels and – with direct flight routes increasing to 317 last year – feed their baggage into the system. meaning Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is a true European Security screening at departure gates dramatically gateway. improves efficiency and passenger waiting times, while
PIONEERING TRANSPORT HUB On 28 April 1967, Queen Juliana opened the new Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. With its tangential runway system, its one-terminal concept, its split-level arrival and departure halls, tax-free shopping centre and range of other facilities for passengers and visitors, Schiphol set a new standard in airport design and innovation. Fifty years later, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol continues to be a leading and innovative transport hub, and was named International Airport of the Year 2012 by CAPA. With a passenger volume of 51 million and a freight total of 1.5 million tons in 2012, Schiphol is Europe’s fourthranking passenger airport, number three for cargo and one of the continent’s principal mainports.
Schiphol is Europe’s fourthranking passenger airport, number three for cargo and one of the continent’s principal mainports
amsterdam inbusiness in brief The official foreign investment agency of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. amsterdam inbusiness provides free, active support and independent advice to organisations planning to invest or settle in the region
amsterdam inbusiness is the official foreign investment agency of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Almere and Haarlemmermeer). amsterdam inbusiness assists foreign companies with the establishment and expansion of their activities in the Netherlands. We can help you create a convincing business case for setting up in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area by offering practical advice and relevant information. And it’s all free, strictly confidential and without any hidden agenda. Our commitment does not end once you have set up an operation in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. We strive to build a long-term relationship in order to be supportive in any phase of development of your company. Considering setting up your business in the Amsterdam Area? Don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to welcoming you in Amsterdam!
Customised solutions By combining your data with ours, we can provide you with relevant information for your organisation. Our services for organisations planning to set up in the Amsterdam Area include: •
Market Intelligence: providing specific data on markets, industries and sectors in, for example, IT, financial services, media, advertising, life sciences, food, gaming, aerospace, logistics, etc. Investment climate: providing information about the Dutch tax climate, incentives, legal & regulatory framework and labour market. Developing independent benchmark reports on salary levels, office rent, cost of living etc. for your European location study and/or supply chain study Fact-finding visits: tailor-made fact-finding programmes to get informed about the fiscal climate, the market, and availability of talent, business climate, and quality of service providers and to visit office locations Legal & tax advice: organising free introduction meetings with internationally-oriented business service suppliers to elaborate on legal and fiscal structures that meet your current and long-term needs Talent: tapping into the labour market via introduction to recruiters and/or networks & communities of professionals Business & partner networks: introductions to strategic partners, business networks/associations, knowledge institutions, tax authorities, governmental agencies and when possible potential clients Relocation support: assistance in search and selection of temporarily, flexible and permanent office space including site visit tours Support for international staff: apartment search for expats (short stay/long stay), introductions to international schools, expat clubs and referrals to doctors, dentist, accountants, etc.
The numbers • Over 2,000 international companies are located in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area • amsterdam inbusiness assisted 126 new companies in 2012
firstname.lastname@example.org www.amsterdaminbusiness.com +31 (0)20 552 2139
PO Box 2133, 1000 CC Amsterdam Telephone: +31 (0)20 552 2139 email@example.com
PO Box 200, 1300 AE Almere Telephone: +31 (0)36 539 9487 firstname.lastname@example.org
PO Box 4, 1180 BA Amstelveen Telephone: +31 (0)20 540 4423 email@example.com
PO Box 250, 2130 AG Hoofddorp Telephone: +31 (0)23 567 6135 firstname.lastname@example.org
One-stop shop for employees •
Opened in 2008, Amsterdam’s Expatcenter cuts through the bureaucratic red tape for the Metropolitan Area’s growing number of international companies and their migrant employees
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Cooperating with the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), the Expatcenter is a one-stop shop for international companies and their migrant employees Employers can use the Expatcenter to initiate residency applications before a new employee even arrives in the Netherlands Fast-track services mean qualifying expats can begin work as soon as two weeks after their employers apply to the IND In one appointment, employees can collect their residence permit and registration with their municipality. This will provide them with a citizen service number (BSN), allowing them, for instance, to open a Dutch bank account Following an agreement with the Dutch Tax Department in 2011, applications for the employee 30% tax ruling can now be made via the Expatcenter The Expatcenter services international companies across the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area The Partnership Programme, created in 2009, connects expats with serviceproviders operating in the expat market
What the Expatcenter can do for you continues to expand its digital support for Amsterdam’s international community, both practical and pleasurable. The recently-launched mobile city guide provides a comprehensive cultural agenda plus insider tips on the go. Firm partnerships – with banks and childcare providers, movers, lawyers, language schools and more – mean the Expatcenter has the tools to make an expat’s first few months a little smoother. Because the first step of a journey doesn’t have to be the most difficult one. Welcome to Amsterdam!
The numbers • Over 850 international companies and their expat employees make use of the Expatcenter’s services • Over 500 new expats visit each month • Companies rate the services provided by the Expatcenter an excellent 8.7/10 on average • More than 20,000 expats have visited the Expatcenter for registration assistance
welcome@expatcenter. iamsterdam.com www.expatcenter.com +31 (0)20 254 7999 Or visit us at: F-Tower, World Trade Center Amsterdam, Strawinskylaan 39, 1077 XW Amsterdam Opening hours: Monday-Friday 09.00-17.00
Amsterdam’s appeal lies in its rich cultural heritage, creative culture, commercial dynamism and high quality of life. Ultimately, however, the city’s greatest asset is its people, a healthy – and growing – percentage of whom are international. The Expatcenter was one of the first Dutch schemes to cut the red tape for expats, drastically streamlining relocation procedures and helping them settle in. Five years later, the Expatcenter offers a comprehensive range of services. Together with its partners from the I amsterdam portal site, the Expatcenter