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Start-up Culture vs Brexit: Which EU city will become the new London?

Posted by: Milly Stokes 13 Sep 16  | Finding a Job |  Netherlands |  Technology

Since Brexit, London has been bumped from the top spot of EU’s business hub. In the search for a ‘new London’ within the EU, there are many competitors including Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona. According to Dublin’s commissioner for start-ups, Brexit will be an opportunity not to be wasted for countries remaining within the EU. Among the top cities in the running to claim this status from London are Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin.

London is renowned for being one of the leading start-up locations in Europe. However, since Brexit, London’s status as the top business hub has been in danger. Many cities are now claiming themselves as worthy alternatives; Berlin, Amsterdam and Stockholm, all of whom are known for their start-up friendly reputation, have a fighting chance of claiming the position.

London is one of the most favourable cities for start-up success. The ten components that place London at the top of the ‘top ten cities for digital entrepreneurs’ include access to capital, business environment and lifestyle, to name but a few. However, following Brexit, new start-ups have been severely affected as the funding that is usually provided for start-ups has dropped in the UK, making it harder for businesses to settle and generate a profit. The total capital invested in European countries for start-ups has plummeted 27% in 2016; this is due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit in the build-up to the referendum in June.


One of the top contenders for the ‘new London’ is Paris. With a reputation for having a vibrant tech culture, Paris is suitably positioned as an ideal substitute.

Start-ups in Paris are thriving, with dating app Happn alone having received $8 million from investors since 2013. This type of innovative tech culture is sure to attract more start-ups to relocate and drive the city further towards its goal of EU tech hotspot.


Amsterdam is another competitor fighting for the role of the EU’s top business hub. With its lack of restrictions on business start-ups and a change in policy, the city appeals to companies which are innovative and creative.

Amsterdam is known as a key start-up location for businesses in the EU and this reputation provides the ideal groundwork for Amsterdam becoming Europe’s new business hub. The transient nature of the city allows many start-ups to experiment by using the city as a testbed for new ideas. It also allows for ideas to be scrapped when they are not successful without fear for the consequences. With the mix of cultures and the synergy between the companies established there, Amsterdam is a prime location for businesses.

For example, several US banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, currently settled in London are interested in crossing the North Sea over to Amsterdam. Amsterdam’s innovative attitude towards progress and the ease of relocation for non-Dutch speakers make it an ideal potential business hub over London.


Since Brexit, Berlin has been said to be ‘eyeing up’ Britain’s tech talent.  Berlin’s senator has been said to be talking to start-ups who are considering moving from London to Berlin in wake of Brexit, with the hope of financial services flowing out of the UK and into Germany.

Berlin is known for its vibrant tech and small business scene. Not only is it the single market that attracts tech people to Berlin but it is known to have a great entrepreneurial and pioneering atmosphere; this sets it up to be a great alternative to London.

Who wins?

From weighing up the competition, Amsterdam seems to have the strongest future possibility of becoming the ‘new London’. This is due to its fast pace and ever-changing environment, which makes it ideal for start-ups and IT innovation. Its tech savvy nature and lack of restrictions makes it extremely attractive to businesses in terms of relocation.

With the new position of European business hub now seemingly up for grabs, the question remains as to who will take on the new role?

Fancy relocating to one of the most up-and-coming cities? Search our jobs in Amsterdam now…


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