Q: Amsterdam is one of Europe’s top destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI) - why is this?

A: Amsterdam is a beautiful, diverse and open city. The city’s economic growth and its appeal to foreign companies and investors, coupled with its many parks and mixed neighbourhoods, make it an interesting city for foreign investors and companies and a good place to live for talented workers, both from Holland and from abroad.

Advertisement

Q: In what sectors would you like to see more foreign investment?

A: We don’t aim for foreign investors specifically. Our key goal is to provide the city and Amsterdammers with enough affordable houses. That is why we want to build new homes, not just for the rich, but also for lower-income households. These homes have to be affordable for many years, so that Amsterdam will remain a diverse city for all groups of Amsterdammers. That is why we are looking for investors – domestic of foreign – who want to make a long-term investment and a commitment to the city.

Q: What is deterring more investment to Amsterdam, and how are you improving on this?

A: It is my impression that investors tend to follow or copy each other in their pursuits. First, just about every investor I met was only interested in office buildings. Now, all I hear is investors wanting to develop only smaller, more expensive homes. That’s a shame, because we want to be a diverse city, with neighbourhoods that combine workplaces, offices and public functions such as shops and restaurants, with homes for higher and lower incomes. And we need all these different types of homes and other buildings in our city. It would be good if investors would diversify their interests. An example: In Amsterdam, we still have about one million square meters of empty office space, that we want to transform – where possible – into new homes. A serious challenge for both the city and property investors. I recently noticed that interest of investors in this sector is growing somewhat, but we could do with some more enthusiasm there. There are still many interesting opportunities to invest in Amsterdam, not just in the market of more expensive houses.

Q: Is Amsterdam benefiting or losing from Brexit?

A: That is still difficult to say. Arguments can be made for both standpoints. When the UK voted for the Brexit in June 2016, Amsterdam decided to follow its own course and play to the city’s strengths, and not to invest too much time and effort to make things go our way and try to benefit from Brexit.