Adland in Amsterdam: Dutch courage and free thinking still blaze a trail

It may be only 12 months since Campaign's last special report on the ad market in Amsterdam, but here you will find much that is new, inspiring and illuminating.

 It may be only 12 months since Campaign’s last special report on the ad market in Amsterdam, but you will find much that is new and, I hope, inspiring and illuminating on the following pages.

It is rare for a thriving market to stand still and, as our visit to the city taught us, Amsterdam is continuing to move and change in different ways. Start-ups, newly merged agencies, new personnel and fresh ideas; they all ensured we had a lively roundtable debate in the staggering EYE film institute on the north bank of the IJ river.

The presence of guests from key advertisers – locally based, but global names – Heineken and Philips meant we benefited from a free and frank discussion: a Dutch trait, I am assured (read all about it on page 38). And, for a conversation that was often about breaking new ground – in both advertising and client-agency relationships – our location in the spectacular heart of a regeneration area was appropriate.

So, the conversation is about new ideas and new ways of working – and where better than Amsterdam to find inspiration, as many of our essayists for Adland In Amsterdam suggest? And, apart from the following pages, where else would you find mentions of urban planning, Totaalvoetbal, "boardroom brand puzzles", Networked Brands and globalistas?

Some themes are universal, but plenty of our essayists would claim that Amsterdam is a very good place to find the inspiration and expertise to deal with them. "The Dutch are happy to trade goods and good ideas," one writes. So, local talent, a global outlook and universally recognised expertise. Welcome back to Adland In Amsterdam.

Philip Smith is the head of content solutions and studio at Campaign

How to master the client-agency relationship Global clients join our featured agencies to talk partnerships, control and free thinking.

The value ecosystem Ad agencies need more skills than ever to cater for their increasingly sophisticated 'Networked Brands'.

A hub of global nomads The Netherlands' truly international perspective and creative zeal make Amsterdam the ideal base for global outreach.

When gezellig means giving brands a human voice The Dutch word gezellig, though a mouthful and close to unpronounceable (heh-SELL-ick) by all but the natives, aptly describes what it's like to live and work within Amsterdam's ad scene.

Understanding modern tribes makes ideas travel far and wide Mindsets and attitude are more useful targets than a mere demographic - and data goes a long, long way.

Creativity begins in the boardroom Brands need to be creative and innovative in their decision-making, even before they bring in the admen.

Amsterdam's global skies Perhaps it is the city's compactness that forces people to 'think outside the box' and strive for the big idea.

The way up There are some simple rules to follow if you want to produce work that gets the job done.

Don't play nice, play total Sticking to the status quo might seem safe, but it's actually riskier than embracing innovation and transformation.


You have

[DAYS_LEFT] Days left

of your free trial

Subscribe now


Our new premium service offering bespoke monitoring reports for your company.

Find out more

Become a member of Campaign

Get the latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now