The business end
Regularly scoring highly in the city indices for its liveability and economic stability, Amsterdam is the world’s leading exporter of cut flowers; including its famous tulips, plants and trees. A vital contributor to the Netherlands’ overall agri-food business, second only to the US in terms of export of food and other farm-related businesses, the city’s port is the world’s most important for cocoa beans; handling a quarter of global production annually. Furthermore, the city’s Heineken brewery, which brews 171.7 million hectolitres of beer every year, is the world’s third largest.
A recent survey that combined the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual global city rankings with other factors including proximity to UNESCO heritage sites and connectivity to the rest of the world saw Amsterdam come second only to Hong Kong.
The Dutch capital is also strong in the chemical sector and is home to the headquarters of global powerhouse, AkzoNobel. The Company is located in Zuidas, Amsterdam’s key business district, occupied by some 700 businesses; rivalling the size of London’s Canary Wharf. Elsewhere, there are several smaller business districts in the centre, with Amstelplein the home of technology Company, Philips for example.
Although the Dutch are easy-going and relaxed in private, they have a very professional business manner and the majority speak very good English. “There is no beating around the bush in business negotiations, as your Dutch contacts will often cut right to the chase. Expats who are used to a more indirect way of interacting may consider this a bit rude at first. However, once you’re used to it, it doesn’t leave much room for misunderstandings... Titles and formalities are often dropped after the first introduction. Instead, talking on a first-name basis is the rule,” summarised internations.org.
“Although the Dutch are easygoing and relaxed in private, they have a very professional business manner and the majority speak very good English”