Amsterdam sets up as a refuge for finance professionals

Published:  31 Jul at 6 PM
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Whilst it’s probably impossible to replace London as a world financial hub, it’s obvious that its post-Brexit clout will be much diminished.

No single EU capital city can absorb the entire financial services industry now resident in London, but firms unable or unwilling to attempt to remain in post-Brexit Britain could do worse than consider a move to Amsterdam. The Dutch city is well placed as a gateway to the rest of the EU, with a number of banks and other multinational giants already established, including Japan’s massive Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

As part of his plan to attract international businesses and experienced expat professionals, Amsterdam’s deputy mayor has described its charming urban sprawl as a pocket-sized world city. Its long history as a port city trading with distant, exotic lands has made it a vibrant, welcoming destination for skilled expats as well as international businesses. New arrivals can expect open-mindedness, a laid-back vibe and the famous Dutch straightforwardness, all of which make assimilating into its culture a pleasure.

Most importantly, excellent English is widely spoken, easing new expat arrivals into the country’s business ethics without having to become immediately fluent in a second language. Getting around the city and into work doesn’t involve hours in traffic or in London’s sweaty underground system, as journeys by bike or motorbike are in traffic-free zones or on cycle paths. Here, commuting is a health-giving pleasure.

Amsterdam’s canals lined with picturesque 17th century gabled town houses are world-famous, reminding newcomers of the country’s historic fame as a major player in opening up trade with the Far East, especially China. Families will find everything they need, from excellent international school education through cultural events, museums, concerts of all kinds and a lively street scene. Childcare is refreshingly affordable, as are property prices in spite of a surge over the past five years.

Brits aren’t expected to be pushed out post-Brexit as the move would work against Amsterdam’s liberal, cosmopolitan vibe as well as not helping its expanding financial sector. At present, its incentivised immigration and 10-year tax breaks for skilled workers seems unlikely to change much, although newly-arrived expats might have to learn enough Dutch to take and pass a basic exam.
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