Amsterdam, with its splendid architecture, scenic canals, and vibrant café scene, effortlessly blends classic charm with modern sophistication. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, it serves as a key European hub for technology and innovation, particularly in the world of Data Science.
7 things about Amsterdam you may not know…
Overview of Amsterdam
Considered by many to be one of Europe’s most livable cities, Amsterdam is the economic hub of the Netherlands, and whilst the seat of the country’s government is actually in The Hague, Amsterdam is the nominal capital city and many refer to it and think of it as the capital. It is a magnet not only for tourists but also for companies and organisations who are looking to set up their headquarters and European offices.
Whilst its core is filled with historic canals, flower-laden bridges, and narrow, cobblestone lanes, Amsterdam is a modern, creative, enterprising city where you won’t be surprised to find cutting-edge tech start-ups standing next to an art gallery or pop-up restaurant. It has a laid back, yet energetic feel. ‘Gezellig’ (cosy and convivial), yet hip. Amsterdam is a fascinating city of contrasts. Where a golden past meets an innovative, technological future.
Amsterdam is the city that gave us the Python programming language; a city that came to prominence at the turn of the century as a tech city, and has since has been described as one of the most AI-ready cities in the world. It boasts a 175 acre Science Park, and is a superb location for start-ups to major European HQ’s. That’s why so many leading companies have a large presence within Amsterdam – including Philips, ING Group, Canon, Heineken, ABN Amro Bank, Tesla, Netflix, Cisco, Randstad, and Adyen.
The city joins the likes of London, Berlin, Paris, Frankfurt, and Dublin as one of the key Data Science Science centres in Europe. It’s also a focal location for European Data Science conferences as we’ll discover later in this article.
Location, Geography and Population
Amsterdam is a bustling port city that has a population of around 850,000, with an urban area population of around 2.5 million. It is located in the west of the Netherlands, in the province of Noord-Holland and connected to the North Sea. Parts of it, including the international airport Schiphol, are several metres below sea level – with some land reclaimed from the sea. Its proximity to the UK and several EU countries plus its history, culture, and work/life balance make it one of the most popular destinations in Europe, welcoming more than 4.5 million tourists every year, and a great city to work in.
Schiphol Airport is the main international airport of the Netherlands and is located around 19 kilometres southwest of Amsterdam. Trains connect it directly to Amsterdam’s main railway station (Centraal Station) which is located right in the heart of the old city. Public transport in Amsterdam is an efficient and effective way to get around and into the city; from the iconic blue-and-white trams via an extensive bus system to a 39 station metro system. Transport by water is also popular, whilst a common sight in this beautiful city is seeing bicycles at every turn.
Amsterdam contains two main universities and a number of applied universities, with a number of Bachelor and Master’s degrees in the likes of Data Science, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence. These universities include the University of Amsterdam (Universiteit van Amsterdam, UvA), and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). The city also has other specialist institutions, including CWI, the national research centre for Mathematics and Computer Science.
There are also a number of schools for foreign nationals in Amsterdam, including the Amsterdam International Community School, British School of Amsterdam, Albert Einstein International School Amsterdam, Lycée Vincent van Gogh La Haye-Amsterdam primary campus (French school), the International School of Amsterdam, and the Japanese School of Amsterdam.
ADS: A thriving Data Science community in Amsterdam
Whilst Amsterdam is a major city, it’s relatively small and compact compared to other major international cities. This makes it a perfect location for a dynamic Data Science community – and Amsterdam Data Science (ADS) is just that.
ADS was founded in 2014 and is a network of academic and commercial partners. It has established a strong Data Science and AI ecosystem based on many internationally renowned researchers in diverse Data Science & AI related fields. The network exists to facilitate the growth and international standing of the ecosystem.
This academia, industry and society bridge provides a platform for collaboration and engagement and is responsible for over a dozen (free) meet-ups a year. These gatherings boast leading Data Scientists and AI researchers and practitioners who discuss topics such as health, fintech, citizen welfare and the real-world applications of their research. ADS brings together speakers from academia and commerce to showcase their expertise and world-class research in Data Science and AI, while promoting Amsterdam as a leading European hub in Data Science, AI research and education.