Here you can see some canal houses of Amsterdam.

Why You Should Work at a Startup in Amsterdam

3 MIN READ | 2021-10-26

The job-searching process can be difficult and frustrating. Hunting for expat jobs in the Netherlands comes with additional barriers such as language requirements, past experience, connections, and more parallel to all the paperwork that you must take care of. You come across many of these barriers in corporate jobs. However, the barriers are much lower for startup vacancies. 

As an expat, working at a startup or scaleup in Amsterdam is the right solution to your job searching worries. Find out why:

Why work at a startup or scaleup?

You may be hesitant to work at a startup or scaleup because you would prefer working at a large corporate instead. Perhaps you assume that big corporations have a sense of security, permanency, and offer higher salaries. If you are not sure why you should go work at a startup instead, familiarise yourself with the benefits below and weigh the pros and cons of your decision.

More responsibilities lead to more opportunities

Working at a startup is an incentive-based environment. It encourages you to train your skills, challenge yourself with a multitude of different tasks, and continuously learn. The more responsibilities you get, the more you grow; this kind of experience enriches not only your resume but also your personality, skills and strengths. More than that, due to the comparatively smaller team size of startups, it will be easier for others to recognise the impact your output has generated. 

Learn from true innovators

“Try something, if it fails, do it again, grow from it, and try something new.” — Roland Sars, CEO & co-founder of Media Distillery

One of the biggest prerequisites to starting a business from scratch is the possibility of failure, and founders are well aware of it. For this reason, they are the true innovators who push themselves to try harder, rigorously test, and learn perpetually. When you surround yourself with people who have experienced and understand failure, you are more likely to learn how to deal with it yourself in your job and in your personal life. When you work at a startup, you don’t simply “do your job” - instead, the job shapes itself based on what you learn from innovators around you. 

Learn to be frugal

Startups always look for ways to do more with less as most of them tend to rely heavily on funding - for this reason, monetary responsibility is key. This is one of the reasons why you may have different responsibilities that may deviate from your assigned role. For example, you could be a business development intern who ends up learning  how to code and design, leading you to publish content on the company’s blog from time to time. Undoubtedly, you will end up adopting the frugal mentality of startups and incorporating it in your daily life. You will learn how to manage your money better and find ways to save up. You will also acknowledge the harm in overspending, the futility of excess, and end up finding joy in creating rather than consuming. 

There are plenty of other reasons why working at a startup is a good choice for you such as flexible hours.

Why in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam’s startup scene is thriving. The ease of communication in the workplace and the various efforts from incubators and accelerators, allows for the Dutch capital to be an ideal place for finding the right startup to work at.

English-speaking environment 

One of the reasons for Amsterdam’s thriving success in startups and scaleups is the English-speaking proficiency of its residents. Amsterdam is an English-speaking world leader according to the English Proficiency Index for Companies Report. Over 90% of the Dutch speak English. Moreover, there is a much higher rate of English-speaking Amsterdam startup jobs that don’t require proficiency in the Dutch language

Top tech ecosystem 

According to Dealroom, Amsterdam ranks third as Europe’s largest ecosystem in terms of the total value of tech companies founded since 2000. As of September 2020, Amsterdam’s tech industry is worth €73 billion in combined value — an impressive upsurge from its €10 billion worth in 2015. It also ranks 12th in the world’s top ecosystems in 2020, which is three ranks higher than the previous year despite the negative impact of COVID-19.

Startup incubators in Amsterdam

Behind every startup, there is an inherent desire to grow and transform into a scaleup. The key to such growth are incubators, which there are plenty of in Amsterdam. Incubators provide startups with mentorship, networks, funding, and other resources to achieve their ambitions. Amsterdam has an array of startup incubators and accelerators that drive the thriving tech ecosystem of the city.

Startups in Amsterdam

Looking for Amsterdam startups to work at? Find below a list of some of the fastest growing start- and scaleups in the city. 

    • Adyen: a platform that integrates gateway, risk management, processing, acquiring, and settlement of payments
    • Bitfury: the leading full service bitcoin and blockchain technology company
    • BOTS: a Trading platform that makes investing more accessible to everyone
    • Bunq: an independent neo-bank that makes life easy
    • ​​Media Distillery: a venture that provides AI technology to help media companies understand their video content.
    • MessageBird: a communication platform connecting enterprises to their global customers
    • Picnic: an online supermarket that delivers groceries for the lowest price to people’s houses without additional delivery fees
    • Takeaway.com: a leading online food delivery marketplace
    • Tiqets: a ticketing platform for museums & attraction
    • Wonderflow: an app helping brands transform customer feedback into impactful actions through the art of delegation

Final Words

Working at a startup in Amsterdam is an ideal career path for expats living in the Netherlands. The city’s welcoming environment and thriving startup scene, as well as the workplace of startups are a few of the many reasons why you should consider it. 


If you are looking for Amsterdam startup jobs, check out Techleap’s startup job board. You also can shortlist your options by deciding which tech job is the right for you or navigating through a list of top 10 cool jobs in Amsterdam.