The World: Insider's View - Netherlands

Its openness, creativity, business acumen and global outlook means Amsterdam is a magnet for talent from around the world.

Amsterdam has come of age as an international advertising centre for many reasons: some practical, many intangible.

Many successful brands have long been served from the Dutch capital by respected agencies including Perfect Fools, de construct, Modernista, 72 & Sunny and, most recently, Sid Lee. Meanwhile, Canada's Taxi has picked Amsterdam over London as its next location.

We chose Amsterdam almost ten years ago because of its openness, creativity, business acumen and global outlook. These traits are stamped into the cultural DNA of the city and the nation. Yet, we are not a "Dutch" agency, but rather an "international" agency.

Why, in this age of fast internet and easy travel, does location matter? Today's agency based in Amsterdam is all about delivering world-class work for international clients. This is thanks to a cross-section of creative businesses based here including design, music, production and digital.

All credit to the City of Amsterdam and the Dutch Government for a multi-year strategy to promote their brands, which leads to a virtuous circle of investment. We thrive because of the self-belief of this city.

London agencies are basically UK agencies, sometimes with international clients. This creates major differences in outlook. We have more than 20 nationalities in our office, focused passionately on creating work without borders. The discipline and process to create work that appeals to multiple cultures and manages complex client structures happens by design, not accident. No one culture dominates.

There are also intangible quality of life aspects. Do I walk to work past 17th century buildings and across canals in 20 minutes or take my bike and get there in five minutes?

Most people in Amsterdam speak English, but the Anglo-American media myopia does not distort our awareness of the bigger world, something best approached with curiosity and humility.

Talent is drawn to Amsterdam because we are presented with fascinating and challenging briefs such as reinventing a classic Soviet beverage for today's Russian consumer.

Great communications crossing borders does not have to mean management by committee and lowest common denominator creative work.

The opportunities have never been better, from Moscow to Dubai and beyond, but they require a culture of exploration as well as the willingness to challenge traditional client decision-making structures. That is what makes Amsterdam the world's creative capital.

Now, if we could only get the Scots and the English in the office understanding each other ...

- Brian Elliott is the founder and chief executive of Amsterdam Worldwide.

Topics