Move over London: Why Amsterdam is #1 for Data Professionals

As a destination for data professionals to live and work, Amsterdam is fast becoming a leading choice in Europe, and potentially the world. Why?

At KDR Recruitment we are proud to support Dutch businesses looking to build their data teams. For me, the pull of Amsterdam can be broken down like this:

  1. Opportunities
  2. Ease of Relocation
  3. Lifestyle and Wellness


Amsterdam is already ranked #4 in the world in the 2019 Savills Best Tech Cities report and the tech ecosystem is still growing.

Of the 1,631 tech companies in the city, a massive 1,213 are start-ups (based on a Dec 2018 study by Dealroom.co).

Growth at that scale creates opportunities for intelligent and creative people to quickly carve a career in data science and related disciplines. Jobs in the Amsterdam tech sector are increasing at a rate of 12% each year (to 69,000 by Dec 2018) and for many start-ups, a data function is one of the first things to set up.

I recently spoke with Daniel Linder, who moved to the Netherlands in 2014. With a background in Biomedical Engineering, he took an opportunity to start a Data Science career in the country and within 5 years is now Head of Data Science with Adyen, one of the leading lights of the Dutch tech scene.

Daniels thinks that any Data Scientist coming to Amsterdam will have a great choice between some really cool start-ups who are doing interesting work, and the exciting group of big tech companies who have opened their doors in Amsterdam – think Google, Uber and Netflix to name a few.

The latter group is growing as a result of Brexit. It may not have happened yet, but the UK’s decision to leave the EU has already prompted some big organisations to reconsider where to base their European operations, and Amsterdam has proven to be a popular choice.

They have also contributed to an increase in salaries across Amsterdam. Smaller companies have had to raise the packages they offer in order to compete for data talent with the tech giants. At about €69,000 the average annual salary for a Data Scientist in the Netherlands is second only to Switzerland in the whole of Europe.

Ease of Relocation

One of the great things about the Netherlands is that compared to many European countries, getting a visa can be relatively straightforward. For Daniel, he was able to get a visa due to his partner being an EU citizen.

The ex-pat community in Amsterdam is huge and very welcoming. You will not have to worry about meeting likeminded, interesting people who are in a similar situation.

English is widely spoken, which for many people helps with settling in. The Netherlands is ranked #1 in the world on the 2019 EF English Proficiency Index, with some 90% of the population able to speak the language.

Lifestyle and Wellness

The Amsterdam lifestyle is fantastic.

Comparing it to New York and London, Daniel thinks that Amsterdam is “the perfect size”.

Work-life balance and family time is really important to most people in the city. People work hard when they are at work, but the long hours often seen in London and New York are very rare here. People shouldn’t forget that they need to live as well as work!

The road and rail infrastructure is excellent, and of course cycling is actively promoted. You can often get from one side of the city to the other in just 30 minutes. Not bad for your morning commute, especially when you compare it to the nightmarish 1-2-hour rail journeys that are commonplace elsewhere…

Air pollution is low, and health and wellness are actively encouraged in most workplaces. Schools and hospitals are of a very high standard.

Naturally, there are some downsides. House prices are quite high, and continuing to rise in the wake of the Brexit-influenced rush of businesses and people entering the city. But they are not too different from other major European cities, and sometimes things are worth it.

And of course, the social scene is vibrant. The city has a real buzz about it in the evenings and weekends, with a great music scene, fun bar culture, world-renowned museums and fast-improving culinary options. This is especially true away from the touristy city center – you’ll soon work out where the best spots are!

It’s a winning combination. Long term opportunities with exciting and fast-growing businesses, in a vibrant and welcoming city that is not too vast. Together they make Amsterdam a great choice for anyone working in Data and Analytics.

Move over London…Amsterdam is coming for you!

Are you a data professional in Amsterdam?

What do you think are the best things about the city as a place to live and work?

Tom Brookshaw is Principal Consultant (Netherlands) for KDR Recruitment, the Data and Analytics recruitment specialist.

This blog was originally published on LinkedIn. View the blog here

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