Brexit may cause companies to move from London to Amsterdam

While the European Union is still coming to terms with the consequences of the Brexit referendum, some international companies have already been preparing for this outcome.

During the past several weeks a number of Asian companies in the finance sector have been visiting the Dutch capital to examine how to move their offices from London to Amsterdam.

Potentially strengthening Amsterdam’s position

Kajsa Ollongren, Deputy Mayor and Alderman to the city of Amsterdam and responsible for economic affairs, was not willing to divulge the names of the companies in question.

She did tell the Volkskrant that these companies are interested in transferring a large portion of their London operations to Amsterdam, which would then serve as their central headquarters for mainland Europe.

Ollongren said that the main motivator for the companies is to get away from years of uncertainty that are expected to affect the British economy. Asian companies typically don’t like political turmoil, she said.

London: financial capital of the world

Until the day after the Brexit, London served as the undisputed financial capital of the world. That position can no longer be guaranteed in the coming years, Boudewijn Poldermans told the Volkskrant. Poldermans works with Chinese investors on the European market.

Impact on foreign investment

Another side-effect of the Brexit vote is that foreign investors are re-examining their plans. For example, a major Chinese firm decided to postpone a major investment in a large London hotel.

Had the company not done so, it would have lost 10 percent of its investment the day after the Brexit vote due to the rapidly decreasing value of the British pound.

Poldermans said it’s likely there will be more instances of this in the near future, but that it also means that more money could be invested in mainland Europe instead.

One in eight US companies "likely" moving

Asian companies aren’t the only ones who are concerned about political and economic uncertainty. Consultant Rene Buck did a survey before the Brexit vote among American companies that have their European headquarters in London.

He told the Volkskrant that one in three would consider moving their office from the British capital, and that one in eight said it was "likely" they would move.

Amsterdam a favourite candidate

Among the survey respondents, 61 percent picked Amsterdam as their preferred new location. The vicinity to Schiphol, the multilingual populace and the favourable tax climate are the main draws of the Dutch capital.

Thomas Lundberg


Thomas Lundberg

Born as a Swede in the Netherlands, this life-long expat has spent his time in Belgium, the United States and Amsterdam. He began his professional career as a regional news...

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