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Success means something different in Amsterdam

Success, accomplishment, purpose – whatever you want to call it, different cultures and countries have different views on what defines success: big houses, fast cars, working ungodly hours at the office. But in Amsterdam, success means something else. Happiness, work-life balance and, well, enjoying life - all take priority.


Defining success

No matter where you are in the world, at one point or another you’ll be sat at your desk thinking where you’ll be in a year’s time. Measuring our lives by the amount of time it takes Earth to make one revolution around the sun is a bit weird when you really think about it. But still: 365 days may be the ideal amount of time to secure that promotion you’ve been gunning for. That next step towards success.


Fast cars or rusty bikes?

But how do you actually define that success in your career? Is it being able to afford a brand-spanking-new car? A giant house? Constantly proving to your boss that you’re a hard worker by slogging through 11-hour days?


Well, that’s not how it goes in Amsterdam. Even the highest-flying CEOs and directors – donned in freshly pressed suits or wearing their best heels – ditch the sports cars in favor of a good ol’-fashioned rusty bike. Heck, even Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte uses his trusty bike to get around. The fact that he cycled to the Royal Palace to meet with King Willem-Alexander might have hit the headlines last year, and we can’t exactly picture any other government representative two-wheeling to their place of work, but this is the Netherlands, and it’s just another day in the office for Amsterdammers.


Shorter hours, happier employees

But what about working long hours? Surely that’ll prove to your boss that you’re a hard-working, successful employee, right? Wrong – well, in Amsterdam anyway. In the Dutch capital, employees are typically encouraged to work shorter hours, spend more time with their friends and families, and enjoy other things that they value. In fact, the Netherlands has the best work-life balance in the world according to the OECD Better Life Index, mainly because just 0.5% of its employees work very long hours – compared to the average of 13%.


It's 16:07 on a Friday as I type this down, but my boss already instructed me to go home and "geniet van je weekend!" (enjoy your weekend). You think we were kidding? :)


Suffice to say, life in Amsterdam is amazing. And residents can make effective use of the city’s renowned work-life balance, thanks to the fantastic cultural agenda on offer. Whether you’re into music, art, theatre, tech events, festivals or clubbing, there’s something for everyone in Amsterdam. Expect all the attractions of a metropolitan city and more, but with a village-like vibe.


What about productivity?

"All this fun and fewer working hours must be bad news for productivity", we hear you thinking. Nope – from tech and creative to logistics and life sciences, Amsterdam is one of the most innovative and productive cities in the world.


We don't work to stay busy. We work to GET SH*T DONE. You're not expected to sit out your working hours just for the sake of it. As long as you can deliver - your employer is happy.


And Amsterdam’s tech scene in particular is something truly special. Home to some of the industry’s most exciting startups and scale-ups (including Adyen, Picnic, – as well as some of the heaviest-hitting tech corporates, the Dutch capital is the place to be for ICT professionals. And it’s always been that way. Just check out these 5 Dutch tech breakthroughs that changed the world, if you don't believe the Dutch can put their money where their mouth is.


Join Amsterdam’s tech scene with project: a

The chance of ditching your nine-to-five woes to become part of the Amsterdam tech scene sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, forget that, because is your chance to become part of it all.


Ten amazing companies are looking for expert developers to join their teams. Apply for project: a before April 15th to be in with a chance of scoring an interview. And flights, accommodation and a 2-day ticket to TNW Conference are on us!

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“project: a not only brings companies in contact with talent, but also solidifies Amsterdam's status as a tech knowledge hub for many diverse industries.”

Jan Joost Kalff Co-Founder & CCO of Dimebox