This blog post was written by Sarah Rudd, Sage Corps' summer marketing intern.
What to Know
Although not the center of governmental activity, Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, and is also considered one of the most liberal cities in the world. It quite literally means “dam in the river Amstel,” from which the city grew outward. Commonly referred to as the “Venice of the North,” the city consists of 165 canals, home to house boats and recreational boats low enough to clear the city’s 1000+ bridges. Though the official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, it is easy to get around without knowing much Dutch at all; many locals do speak English, along with other European languages. Apart from the city’s locals, Amsterdam also attracts international workers, students, and tourists, making it a diverse city that is always evolving and seeing new talent develop.
What to Do
Though globally recognized for its lax marijuana laws, notorious Red Light district, and for being the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, Amsterdam has more to offer than progressive viewpoints and pragmatic philosophies. Amsterdam is also home to the largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh’s works in the world, Anne Frank’s childhood home, and the “Heineken Experience” museum. Additionally, the city is known for their bike-friendly lifestyle—it is one of the most practical ways to get around the city for both tourists and locals. Canal cruises are another popular attraction among tourists, as are the approximately 7 million tulips that bloom between mid-April and mid-May.
According to the 2017 Global Startup Ecosystem report, Amsterdam was ranked as the 19th best startup ecosystem in the world, and it is also considered one of the most competitive global economies. Two of Amsterdam’s first startups, Booking.com (1991) and TomTom (1996), have shown great success and are still based out Amsterdam today. Since then, the startup scene has only progressed further; in 2015 the Netherlands introduced “startup visas,” making it possible for international newcomers to take temporary residence there as they try to get their startup business on its feet. This has allowed for further growth within Amsterdam’s startup community and has helped boost its reputation as a prime city for startups like Shleep, Labfresh, and Mahlzeit to, well, start up. As a company that connects students with tech startup companies around the world, we are excited to send our first cohort to Amsterdam for our Summer 2017 program and allow them to fully take advantage of the opportunities the city has to offer!