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Startup Hubs in the Netherlands

6 MIN READ | 2022-03-22

Startup Hubs in the Netherlands: A Complete Guide

The Netherlands is a great place to work at a startup as a result of the country’s strong focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. 

The Dutch government actively promotes the startup ecosystem and offers various incentives, such as tax breaks, funding schemes and networking events. In addition, the Netherlands has a well-developed infrastructure, with a strong network of business angels, venture capitalists and incubators.

As a result, the Dutch startup scene is constantly evolving, and new startups are popping up all the time. 

Do you want to work in a dynamic and international environment? Then, read further and learn more about the startup hubs in the Netherlands!

Startup Hubs in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and is known for its lively startup scene. The Amsterdam startup ecosystem is diverse, with many startups, from online fashion retailers to fintech companies. Due to its central location and good infrastructure, Amsterdam is a popular place for startups to set up shop.

According to a Dealroom report, most startup jobs in the Netherlands are located in North Holland, and especially the capital city. In addition to the support provided by the municipality, Amsterdam is the key node where investors, young entrepreneurs, and IT talent naturally congregate.

Booking.com, Takeaway, Adyen, and other seasoned leaders firms are among the prominent Amsterdam tech high rollers and new unicorns like fintech Mollie, SaaS firm MessageBird, and online food retailer Picnic are joining them at the table.

Accelerators in Amsterdam

 

ACE Incubator

The Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE) unites students, academics, and entrepreneurs to establish successful enterprises. ACE helps new businesses get up and running by providing the right training, assistance, and connections they need to succeed.

 

Amsterdam Science Park

The Amsterdam Science Park is widely recognised as a research, education, and business centre where outstanding possibilities exist in science, physics, chemistry, ICT/infrastructure/green life sciences and advanced instrumentation. It is one of the largest concentrations of beta sciences in Europe.

Workspaces in Amsterdam

Workspaces in Amsterdam offer a great opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs and collaborate on projects. Here are a few notable workspaces in Amsterdam:

  • Primalbase
  • Venu
  • MidWest Cowork
  • Newday Offices
  • Pand Noord

 

Universities in Amsterdam

 

University of Amsterdam 

The University of Amsterdam (UvA)  is the oldest in the Netherlands. It is a public research university located in Amsterdam. The UvA offers a wide range of programmes, including economics, law, humanities, and social sciences.

UvA has reportedly over 279 alumni-founded companies, including the following:

  • WeTransfer
  • Insify
  • Digi Bio
  • Adyen
  • Decodata

 

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) is a private research university located in Amsterdam. The VU offers a wide range of programmes, including economics, humanities, theology, and social sciences.

VU has reportedly over 175 alumni-founded companies, including the following:

  • Gymstory
  • Aidence
  • Workwize
  • Whoppah
  • Orbisk

 

Governments & non-profits in Amsterdam

 

Gemeente Amsterdam 

The Municipality of Amsterdam (Gemeente Amsterdam) provides municipal services to the citizens of Amsterdam, including grants for startups, support for the internationalisation of startups, and a variety of business-related services.

 

Digital Life Centre

Digital Life Centre is a non-profit research group at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences focusing on innovative technologies, sensors and digital information.

Other governments and/or non-profit organisations include:

  • Innovation Exchange Amsterdam
  • StartupAmsterdam
  • ProDock

 

Techleap

Techleap.nl is a non-profit, publicly funded organisation that helps to build a thriving startup ecosystem in the Netherlands. It offers insights, data, tools, and exclusive programmes such as Rise and GoGlobal Programmes to help connect startups with investors and community builders. 

Amsterdam has a well-developed infrastructure, with a strong network of business angels, venture capitalists and incubators. So if you’re looking for an exciting and challenging job in the startup world, the Netherlands is worth considering!

Startup Hubs in Utrecht

Although Amsterdam is the most popular startup hub in the Netherlands, 60% of job openings at startups are outside North Holland. Utrecht is one of the rising startup hotspots for entrepreneurs. 

In Utrecht, a few notable startup hubs are worth mentioning.

 

Accelerators in Utrecht

 

UtrechtInc

One of the largest Dutch incubators, UtrechtInc, is great for early-stage tech startups. It's a top 10 university-connected incubator globally, founded in 2009. It provides researchers, first-time software entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurial students with support from mentors and/or founders from all industries, corporate executives, and investors.

Another notable accelerator in the Utrecht Region is the Utrecht Science Park.

 

Workspaces in Utrecht

In Utrecht, there are a few notable workspaces that are worth mentioning. See the list of some of them below:

  • Desktoday
  • E-office
  • Peer!
  • Tribes

 

Universities in Utrecht

 

Utrecht University 

Utrecht University (UU) is a wide-range, international research university with a solid connection to the city of Utrecht.

UU has reportedly over 56 alumni-founded companies such as Lepaya and Urbee.

Other universities in the Utrecht region include:

  • Nyenrode Business University
  • Hogeschool Utrecht
  • Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht
  • University Medical Center Utrecht
  • Elevate Health

 

Governments & non-profits in Utrecht

There are plenty of governments and/or non-profit organisations that help fund startups in Utrecht. Some notable examples are:

  • Gemeente Utrecht
  • Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
  • Dutch Research Council
  • L.S.V. Cognatio
  • Institute for Positive Health

 

Although Amsterdam is the most popular startup hub in the Netherlands, Utrecht is a notable startup hotspot, especially for the IT industry. So, if you’re looking for an exciting and challenging job in the IT startup world, Utrecht is your next stop!

Startup Hubs in The Hague

The Hague isn't typically associated with a start-up environment, but with the booming Dutch startup ecosystem, that is beginning to change. In 2020, The Hague's startup ecosystem moved from fifth to second in the national ranking (behind Amsterdam).

The Hague, also known as the city of Peace and Justice, is a destination for (international) startups and scale-ups that focus on global issues.

 

Accelerators in The Hague

 

Unknown Group

The early-stage venture capital and business development firm Unknown Group backs entrepreneurs and industry leaders in bringing new ideas to market. This results from its unique approach that results in company success, matching the industry, and creating a pool of solutions ready to be implemented by consumers.

Other equally significant accelerators in The Hague:

  • WorldStartup
  • LifeSciences@work
  • Dutch Marine Energy Centre

 

Workspaces in The Hague

 

Apollo 14

Apollo 14 is a workspace with sustainable development goals and welcomes entrepreneurs who work on innovations that promote peace, law, security, sustainable energy and other global challenges.

Other workspaces you can find in The Hague are:

  • Caballero Fabriek
  • The Hague Security Delta
  • New World Campus

 

Universities in The Hague

 

The Hague University of Applied Sciences

The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THU) provides investment funds to entrepreneurial students and alumni who want to start their firms or scale them up.

THUAS has over 32 alumni-founded companies such as Fledgerr and TechTics.

Other educational institutions in The Hague area include:

  • King's College of the Netherlands
  • Leiden University College

 

Governments & non-profits in The Hague

The Hague is home to many Dutch government-funded and non-profit organisations that support startups. Some notable examples are:

  • Netherlands Enterprise Agency
  • HiiL
  • Health Holland
  • Orange Corners
  • CROG

 

Thanks to its focus on global issues, the Hague is becoming one of the fastest-growing startup hubs in the Netherlands. Suppose you are interested in working at startups that raise awareness on global challenges such as sustainability. In that case, the international home of peace and justice might be the right destination for you.

Startup Hubs in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and is home to frontrunners, pioneers and entrepreneurs. The Rotterdam region is mainly known for its thriving tech ecosystem. This is especially true due to the city's 'Make It Happen' mentality. 

 

Accelerators in Rotterdam

 

CityLab010

The CityLab010 support program has an annual budget of more than €3 million for those who want to pursue their startup vision for Rotterdam. The programme offers knowledge, coaching, and networking.

Rotterdam has plenty of other accelerators as well, including:

  • Auctiometrix
  • TMM Ventures
  • Rotterdam Mobility Lab
  • PortXL
  • Rotterdam Internet Valley

 

Workspaces in Rotterdam

 

42workspace

42workspace is a curated coworking space for tech startups, creative professionals and entrepreneurs. It's home to a fantastic community of ambitious people, and it has all the amenities you need to get your work done.

Other notable workspaces in Rotterdam include:

  • Placebased
  • LaatBloeien
  • Workspot Rotterdam
  • Rotterdam Science Tower
  • Het Industriegebouw

 

Universities in Rotterdam

 

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is one of many universities in the Rotterdam region that support startups and businesses.

EUR has amassed over 179 alumni-founded companies. Some of them are:

  • Equalture
  • College Life
  • Karma Kebab
  • Amberscript

 

Governments & non-profits in Rotterdam

 

Up!Rotterdam

Up! Rotterdam is committed to making Rotterdam the most important homeport for forward-thinking companies, scale-ups, inventive SMEs, and enterprises. It provides access to talent, funding, and new markets.

Other notable organisations in Rotterdam are:

  • Gemeente Rotterdam
  • Rotterdam Partners
  • SSR Rotterdam
  • Rotterdam Female Students Association
  • Voor Goed Agency

 

Rotterdam is startup heaven for startups that aim to impact the tech industry. With a range of accelerators, co-working spaces and universities that support startups, Rotterdam is the place to be for tech innovators.

Startup Hubs in Eindhoven

Eindhoven has the fourth largest pool of start-up employment in the Netherlands, with over 16,000 people working in more than 700 firms in 2021.

Eindhoven is praised for its high-tech equipment, hardware, photonics, additive manufacturing, lighting, electronics, semiconductor technology, and healthcare.

According to investors, it is poised to become the Netherlands ' no.2 tech hub.

 

Accelerators in Eindhoven

 

HighTechXL

HighTechXL is a technology accelerator that helps research organisations like CERN and TNO make businesses out of their inventions.

Other accelerators in Eindhoven are:

  • EIT InnoEnergy
  • Eindhoven Startup Alliance
  • STARTUP/eindhoven
  • BW Ventures
  • Startup Eindhoven

 

Workspaces in Eindhoven

You can find several workspaces  in Eindhoven, such as:

  • Twice Eindhoven
  • Strijp-CS
  • High Tech Campus Eindhoven

 

Universities in Eindhoven

 

Eindhoven University of Technology

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) aims to develop future engineers with an entrepreneurial mindset.

TU/e has amassed over 75 alumni-founded companies such as Springest and Aidence.

Other educational institutions that contribute to the startup scene in Eindhoven are:

  • Fontys University of Applied Sciences
  • Design Academy Eindhoven
  • International Management Forum Academy

 

Governments & non-profits in Eindhoven

Eindhoven's startups and other businesses receive funding and other resources from the government and other non-profit organisations. These include:

  • Municipality of Eindhoven
  • Kickoff Ehv
  • Brainport Eindhoven Region
  • Stichting Smart Homes
  • Brainport Industries

 

Eindhoven is a great place for startups that want to make an impact in the hardware industry. In addition, Eindhoven is the place to be for tech innovators with a range of accelerators, coworking spaces, and universities that support startups.

Conclusion

Each startup hub has strengths and unique characteristics. For example, Amsterdam has the largest startup hub in the Netherlands, while Utrecht is a young upcoming startup scene with a strong focus on IT. Eindhoven is known for its hardware startups, The Hague for its sustainable startups, and Rotterdam for its tech-savvy entrepreneurs.


No matter which startup hub you choose, you will find many resources and support to help businesses grow. So what are you waiting for? Start your startup journey in the Netherlands today!