Ever been abroad and came across a clever, fellow traveller who thought that Amsterdam was a country? Right, topography is hard for some. As such, it is safe to say that the Netherlands oftentimes gets overshadowed by its buzzing capital Amsterdam, where tourists get a taste of the typical Dutch cliché’s. Among those clichés is that startup life in Amsterdam is booming and frankly, that is true. However, this does not only count for Amsterdam. When it comes to new initiatives, the whole country of the Netherlands is flourishing. All cities are located within a close radius, allowing for easy knowledge sharing and for experts to refer to the Netherlands as the European Silicon valley. Take a look at the graphic below, which indicates the number of startups per city or region. Time to put the Netherlands’ other cities in the spotlight and to reveal what they are thriving on.

Groningen: Data, Healthcare & Energy
In the far, far North where it is cold and dark you will find Groningen. Although Groningen is only 150 km from Amsterdam, it has long been regarded as an “off the grid” location. Nowadays, however, it is reforming itself into a city which actively attracts both national as well as international talent. What kind of people it attracts? Well, Groningen leads the way in data services, healthcare and energy initiatives, according to StartupDelta and excels at building an ecosystem connecting young, ambitious people with experts and the right facilities. As an example, take Founded in Groningen, an online platform allowing for entrepreneurs to connect with others, promote their company (events) and publish blog posts. 

Rotterdam: Shipping Center 
Rotterdam is renowned as the place to be for architecture lovers, but it is also famous for its international port. As a result, Rotterdam has established itself as a shipping centre point. With big harbor funds backing innovation and specialized start ups, they are a centre for new innovations. Rotterdam was featured by the Financial Times as a superb location for startups and new ventures. An example? The Erasmus Center for Entrepreneurship represents one of Rotterdam’s startup hubs, as a community with over 160 startups and scale-ups where innovation and research form the basis for developing innovative ideas. 

Delft: Tech-Savvy As Can Be
Delft is not only a cute little town, it is also The Netherlands’ cutting edge technological and engineering core. With the leading TU Delft University, they supply outstanding tech talent. In addition, it is home to one of Holland’s leading incubators YesDelft! who have supported over 200 new initiatives by building an ecosystem of young talent, experts, mentors, corporate partners and investors. 

The Hague: Security is Key
The Netherlands is one of the few countries in the world in which its parliament is not located in the capital. Instead, the country is being lead from a city with an ocean view: The Hague. In this political and international heart of The Netherlands, innovation plays an important role too, especially with regard to security. Security Delta Campus inspires professionals, entrepreneurs, institutions and students to join forces on business opportunities and idea sharing in order to foster innovation within the field of (digital) security.

Utrecht: Healthcare & Sustainability 
The beautiful city of Utrecht, boasts more than pretty houses and canals. From an innovation perspective, Utrecht’s focus lies in health and sustainability. In fact, Utrecht provides all the necessary resources for skillful and ambitious entrepreneurs, with an outstanding university, a Sciencepark and the leading UtrechtInc incubator. This startup hub aims to help young talent in validating and accelerating their business ideas and therewith fosters innovation in Utrecht.

Eindhoven: More Tech
Rivaling Delft, Eindhoven is yet another tech centre in Holland. Hometown of the Dutch Philips and Technical University Eindhoven, it is considered one of Europe’s leading brainports. It has also attracted the Silicon Valley Singularity University, enticing international parties and investors. Consequently, Eindhoven has been labeled as “Innovation City” by The Guardian, last year. One of Eindhoven’s ongoing masterpieces is Theo Salet’s mission to establish the first real 3D-printed house. 

Apart from the six cities mentioned above, there are more promising innovation regions to be found in the Netherlands. Think about Twente, Leiden, Nijmegen and other Dutch hubs. These smaller hubs are centered around the best universities and each have specific focuses, such as law, food science or societal developments. Want to see it for yourself? Come and explore! The Netherlands really offers it all. 

About Amstel Lab
Amstel Lab partners with startups and scaleups to commercialize your business. On the back of our experience, we have developed the unique Amstel Lab method: a tailor-made approach to maximize success. We test your markets, refine your product, innovate your commercial approach and execute your strategies. Any good idea is worth seeing through. 

Want to learn more? Contact us through [email protected]

Anneloes van der Steenstraten & Sterre Bisschop

Anneloes van der Steenstraten & Sterre Bisschop