The Netherlands


Femke Halsema


862,965 (2019)

Lead Innovation Officer

Ger Baron

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve service delivery

  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

  • Improve resident outcomes

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Culture of innovation in city

  • Support from outside city administration

Spotlight on innovation in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of six pilot cities for Mobility Urban Values (MUV), a project funded by the European Commission. The project seeks to induce behavioral changes through a mobile game where users earn points for making sustainable mobility choices. These points can be redeemed for a cup of coffee or similar rewards from the network of local businesses advertised on the MUV platform. The mobility and environmental data collected from the platform are made readily available as open data, contributing to the development of new services and helping inform urban policies in Amsterdam.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Amsterdam has an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to 20% of cities surveyed, Amsterdam approaches innovation capacity from a holistic/macro level.

Policy areas that Amsterdam is focused on

Amsterdam does not prioritise policy sectors for its innovation work.

Policy areas by number of cities

Amsterdam utilizes 6 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Data scientist
Community engagement staff
Communication officer
Innovation roles by number of cities

As an independent department, Amsterdam’s dedicated innovation team consists of 80 staff, divided into 10 sub-teams.

Terms Amsterdam most associates with innovation

Data analytics

Amsterdam's most common innovation activities

Taking risks and testing new ideas
e.g. prototyping new programs or models to address a persistent city challenge
Promoting data-driven analytics / public data management
e.g. data storage/analytics; open data; big data
Engaging residents in new ways
Facilitating organizational change within the municipality
e.g. silo-busting; new internal performance management; staff training and capacity building on innovation tools or techniques; reforms to contracting or procurement
Human-centered design
e.g. prioritizing the end-user at each stage of the design process
  1. 1

    Taking risks or testing new ideas

  2. 2

    Data-driven analytics/public data management

  3. 3

    Engaging residents in new ways

  4. 4

    Developing new solutions based on digital technologies

  5. 5

    Organizational change within the municipality

  6. 6

    Human-centered design

  7. 7

    Rethinking your city’s approach to financing partnerships

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Amsterdam has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

International/multilateral institution budget
International/multilateral institution budget
This refers to resources from international and/or multilateral institutions’ budgets (i.e. European Union)
Central/federal/national government budget
Central/federal/national government budget
This refers to funding in the form of budget support to city authorities. Example: Stockholm (Sweden) launched the Hub for Innovation, a three-year long project funded by Sweden's National Innovation Authority, Vinnova in 2017. The hub supports a more innovative working culture within the city hall.
Regional/State/Province/Territorial budget
Municipal budget
Municipal budget
This could include, for instance, City Council approved funds; operating budget; a special funding process (bond, Mayoral special initiative funding, etc.); and participatory budgeting / citizen-selected budgeting.
External funding
External funding
This could include private, philanthropic/non-profit and/or academic/think tank resources.
Non-financial resources
Non-financial resources
This could include staff on loan and/or other in-kind contributions (e.g. materials, infrastructure…)

Activities being funded

Idea generation & brainstorming
Investing in digital systems
Paying for services
47 cities
Launching or sustaining a project
79 cities
Idea generation & brainstorming
51 cities
Investing in digital systems
36 cities
Investing in physical infrastructure
30 cities
Paying for services

Similar to 61% of participating cities in the 2020 survey, Amsterdam's funding for innovation capacity is also directed towards training staff and building capacity*.

*"Training staff and building capacity" is not an option in the 2018 survey, while "Launching or sustaining a project" is not an option in the 2020 survey.

How is innovation measured?

Amsterdam has developed partnerships to promote innovation capacity with other public agencies, private firms, not-for-profit organisations, and city residents/resident associations.

To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with the private sector, academia and think tanks to collect and analyse data.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Economic Development

Land use

Built environment



Social welfare/social services

Social inclusion and equity

Waste and sewage


Policing and law enforcement


Government finance

Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change

Digital governance



Public works