An Innovator’s City Guide to Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam is a perfect innovation hub, as well as a great launchpad into the Dutch and European markets. Although small in size, Amsterdam has it all: a creative and stable business environment, a diverse talent pool and entrepreneurial mindset, and a perfect city to live in, with great hangouts and a friendly and vibrant atmosphere everywhere you go. Its work-life balance is among the best on the planet. So, be part of a thriving business ecosystem while enjoying the great life in Amsterdam.

Meet Your Guide


Peter Maarten Westerhout

Singularity University Chapter: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Profession: Peter Maarten Westerhout is a creative innovator, entrepreneur, and speaker. Passionate about bringing technology to life, he is a co-founder of TimeLabz, an agency that helps managers and entrepreneurs set their course in the new digital age.

Your City Guide to Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Top three industries in the city: Creative, ICT, financial, and business services.

1. Coworking Space: FreedomLab

FreedomLab is both a co-working space and a consulting agency. It offers consulting, coaching, and small-group sessions as well as spacious, light-filled desks and lounge areas.

2. Makerspace: Makerversity

Makerversity, which recently opened in Amsterdam, is a makerspace that will have a textile workshop, 3D printers, vinyl and laser cutters, and an assembly space. The woodworking and general making facilities are now open and available for use.
Image Credit: Kars Alfrink / CC BY 2.0

3. Local meetups/networks: Startup Boot

Startup Boot attempts to connect founders, startup CEOs, and entrepreneurs by hosting meetups and workshops on blockchain innovation, strategies to reach out to potential clients, and other topics. Many of the organization’s events have taken place on boats on Amsterdam’s famed canals.

4. Best coffee shop with free WiFi: De Stadskantine

De Stadskantine offers affordable food, friendly staff, and a great environment to meet locals who work and live in Amsterdam. Although the coffee is not the finest in town, DeStadskantine is definitely one of the best local spots for nomad innovators.

5. The startup neighborhood: NDSM Werf

Once one of the largest wharfs in the world, the NDSM has morphed from an industrial shipyard into a cultural hub. It hosts vintage markets, rotating festivals, and a waterfront café constructed from old shipping containers.

Image Credit: Gareth Lowndes /

6. Well-known investor or venture capitalist: Patrick de Zeeuw

Patrick de Zeeuw is cofounder and CEO of Startupbootcamp in Amsterdam and an active angel investor in media, online, and mobile companies.

7. Best way to get around: OV-fiets

OV-fiets is a convenient bicycle rental service that costs only €3.85 for a 24-hour rental period. Bicycles can be borrowed from nearly 300 locations all over the Netherlands, including train stations, bus and metro stops, and town centers.

Image Credit: Peter Maarten Westerhout

8. Local must-have dish and where to get it: Kroket & Frikandel speciaal at Febo

Febo is a chain of Dutch walk-up fast food restaurants of the automat type, where food can be purchased from vending machines. Founded in 1941 in Amsterdam, Febo’s most popular items are krokets, frikandellen, hamburgers, and Kaassoufflés.

9. City’s best-kept secret: De Ceuvel

On the heavily polluted site of a former shipyard, De Ceuvel is the creation of a team of architects who converted old houseboats into a workspace and cultural center. The development also includes a café-restaurant on the waterfront with good food and creative programming.

Image Credit: Peter Maarten Westerhout

10. Touristy must-do: Foodhallen

The Foodhallen is an indoor food hall inside a former tram depot that has over a dozen independent restaurant stands and a wide variety of culinary options.

11. Local volunteering opportunity: Amsterdam Cares

Amsterdam Cares is an active network of socially-minded young professionals. With over 9,000 registered volunteers, the network supports more than 100 community organizations.

12. Local university with great resources: University of Amsterdam (UvA)

The UvA’s mission is to provide academic education for tomorrow’s leaders and innovators, carry out pioneering research, and use the results to develop socially relevant applications. Visit one of the many open buildings and libraries in the historic city center.

Image Credit: Dirk M. de Boer /

This article is for informational purposes only. All opinions in this post are the author’s alone and not those of Singularity University. Neither this article nor any of the listed information therein is an official endorsement by Singularity University.

Banner Image Credit: INTERPIXELS  /

Peter Maarten Westerhout
Peter Maarten Westerhout
Peter Maarten Westerhout is a creative innovator, entrepreneur, and speaker. Passionate about bringing technology to life, he is a co-founder of TimeLabz, an agency that helps managers and entrepreneurs set their course in the new digital age.
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