Amsterdam fourth most creative global city

Research undertaken for Global Cities, a project assessing cities based on the three T’s of economic development - tolerance, talent and technology - has rated Amsterdam as one of the top cities in the world.

Using a system based on the best-selling book Rise of the Creative Class, the survey examined top cities, based on GDP worldwide, and analysed how each is performing in the creative economy.

Assessed on the three T’s, as well as a fourth measure on amenities and quality of place, Amsterdam scored an A-, placing it in fourth position worldwide behind Ottawa, Seattle and Oslo.

Amsterdam’s talented workforce

Amsterdam rated highly due to the large number of knowledge workers in the city: the highest density of anywhere in the Netherlands, with 44 per cent of the population having some form of higher education. It’s also the largest Anglophone city on the continent, with 80 per cent of the workforce speaking English.

In terms of creative industries, the Netherlands ranks second in the world for "Creative Class membership," with 46 per cent of the workforce employed in creative occupations. That’s one of the reasons why the Netherlands was ranked fourth in the Global Innovation Index.

Dutch international focus

The Amsterdam area has a workforce drawn from 180 different nationalities from a population in which 45 per cent belong to an ethnic minority. The survey said Amsterdam was one of the least segregated cities in Europe and "a benchmark for inclusion and integration."

It also gave high scores for its support for LGBT citizens, its religious tolerance and civil rights, with an overall A on the "Tolerance Scorecard."

The Netherlands as a technology hotspot

As mentioned above, Amsterdam ranks on creative scores, sitting in the top five creative cities in the world, alongside London, New York and Los Angeles.

Another measure of creativity is entrepreneurship: according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, the Netherlands is the most entrepreneurial country in the EU, with 7,2 per cent of Dutch citizens between the ages of 18 and 64 owning or planning their own start-up.

The Amsterdam region also has the world’s largest, most stable digital exchange platform, which has been a major draw for ICT companies from around the world.

The city has around nine "knowledge-clusters" geared towards the ICT and Life Sciences industries that aim to consolidate the efforts of organisations and create strong links between knowledge and business development.

Quality of Place

Amsterdam also scored an A for amenities, which included rating museums, cultural events, and entertainment and nightlife.

The survey gave especially high scores for investment in architecture, the variety of "scenes," or separate cultural identities, and, naturally, bike paths.

This rating mirrors that found by the Economist’s Liveability Ranking, which ranked Amsterdam as the world’s second-best city in its spatially-adjusted version of the famous survey.

The Global Cities survey concluded that the Amsterdam Metropolitan region is truly "world class."

Top 10 most creative cities

1 Ottawa
2 Seattle
3 Oslo
4 District of Columbia
4 Amsterdam
6 Tel Aviv
6 Copenhagen
6 London
9 Calgary
9 New York
Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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