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Typical townhouses in Amsterdam | © pixabay
Typical townhouses in Amsterdam | © pixabay
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Why Amsterdam is Europe's Best City for Creatives

Picture of Tom Coggins
Updated: 19 October 2017

When it comes to positive, regional conditions related to creative industries, Amsterdam may outrank every other major city in Europe. These factors include access to healthy work-life balance structures, low language barriers and the city’s burgeoning start-up sector.

Even though renting in Amsterdam can be notoriously expensive, daily life is generally quite affordable and considerably less hectic when compared to other major urban hubs. Long commutes via public transport, for example, are basically non-existent due to the city’s 400 kilometre long cycle network. This also means that heading out after work to eat, catch a film or socialise is a total breeze. Furthermore, Amsterdam has an incredibly high concentration of cultural attractions for its size and crams dozens of awesome hotspots into around 200 square kilometres. And, as working times in the Netherlands generally clock below 30 hours per week, it is actually possible to enjoy downtime in the city.

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Bikes are a big part of Amsterdam’s appeal | © pixabay

Over the past few decades it has become increasingly common for companies to employ non-Dutch speakers in creative positions and although it isn’t always necessary to learn the native language, Dutch is relatively easy to pick up thanks to its proximity to English and German. It’s also worth mentioning that Dutch universities offer most courses in English and therefore attract large, international student bodies. The city’s metropolitan spirit almost certainly contributes to its creative industries, as companies  in the sector often rely on international workforces to meet demands.

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There are dozens of excellent cultural hotspots in Amsterdam including the Rijksmuseum | © pixabay

Many well-established, international companies are based in Amsterdam as well as scores of other smaller firms or start-ups that employ large numbers of creative professionals. In fact, Amsterdam is among the most accommodating cities in the world for small businesses, self-employed entrepreneurs and freelancers, partly due to the area’s lenient tax regulations. This type of diverse job market facilitates many different kinds of employment opportunities and makes it easier for creatives to find or generate work.

While Amsterdam might seem pretty small compared to other European capitals like London or Paris, it is part of a larger conurbation known as de Randstad which also includes Rotterdam, Utrecht and the Hague. These four large Dutch cities essentially form one massive metropolitan area that’s connected by rapid public transport, which opens up even more opportunities for creatives based in Amsterdam.