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Hot Dam!

 05/03/2018

The City Editor – Amsterdam

Starting life as a fishing village in the 13th century, Amsterdam grew to become one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th. Known as a diamond selling and financial capital, it boasts the oldest stock exchange on the planet and one of the happiest legacies an ancient trading post can bestow: with 177 nationalities, it is the world’s most multicultural city.

As the centuries passed and the city grew, its remit expanded to include culture as well as commerce and the country’s best-known artists are now represented across a plethora of globally renowned institutions like the recently renovated Rijksmuseum. Among the one million objects documenting the Netherlands between 1200 and 2000 are masterworks from the likes of Hals, Rembrandt and Vermeer.

“Business-friendly and a cultural capital, Amsterdam is a city that works.”

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According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual liveability ranking (which measures living standards based on five criteria: culture and environment; education; healthcare; infrastructure; and stability), Amsterdam comes in at 18th – not bad in a list that extends to 140. As befits its standing as a trading destination, seven of the world’s 500 largest companies are located here and PwC’s Cities of Opportunity Index ranks it fourth in the world for ease of doing business.

In keeping with its pioneering attitude to urban life, Amsterdam was also the first place to elect a night mayor. Responsible for looking after the city during its hours of darkness, Mirik Milan’s former role as a club promoter makes him well qualified to understand the vagaries of the night-time economy. According to a report, Dance-onomics: The Economic Significance of EDM [Electronic Dance Music] for the Netherlands, the club industry alone is worth £470m to Amsterdam’s nocturnal coffers, and Milan’s efforts to forge a link between sunset and sunrise have dramatically improved relationships (and bank balances) between often disparate interests.

Today, Amsterdam is managing its role as what the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) study group calls an “alpha” city with a pragmatism that is thoroughly Dutch. Successfully combining business, culture and quality of life in an increasingly busy environment takes some doing – and Amsterdam’s level-headed approach may well serve as a blueprint for other urban centres looking to evolve in a way that works for everyone.

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“PwC’s Cities of Opportunity Index ranks it fourth in the world for ease of doing business.”

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dam 4Kimpton De Witt’s accommodation includes a well-appointed penthouse.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual liveability ranking (which measures living standards based on five criteria: culture and environment; education; healthcare; infrastructure; and stability), Amsterdam comes in at 18th – not bad in a list that extends to 140. As befits its standing as a trading destination, seven of the world’s 500 largest companies are located here and PwC’s Cities of Opportunity Index ranks it fourth in the world for ease of doing business.

In keeping with its pioneering attitude to urban life, Amsterdam was also the first place to elect a night mayor. Responsible for looking after the city during its hours of darkness, Mirik Milan’s former role as a club promoter makes him well qualified to understand the vagaries of the night-time economy. According to a report, Dance-onomics: The Economic Significance of EDM [Electronic Dance Music] for the Netherlands, the club industry alone is worth £470m to Amsterdam’s nocturnal coffers, and Milan’s efforts to forge a link between sunset and sunrise have dramatically improved relationships (and bank balances) between often disparate interests.

Expert insider Q&A |

Thomas Datemer the Mixologist at  the Kimpton De Witt’s House Bar.

What makes Amsterdam so special?
It’s a big city that is still small enough to be walk/ bike-able, which gives living here the feeling of living in a village.

How has the city changed in the last decade?
What has changed a lot in the past few years is that it has very clearly become a more global city. It’s finally starting to get rid of the “capital of weed” image in favour of a city that has so much more to offer. Besides that, the bar and restaurant industry has grown into a much more mature and internationally appreciated industry.

Obvious tourist stuff aside, what’s it like to actually live in Amsterdam?
It’s a fun city to live in. Whether you like parties, art or music there is always something going on that’s within reach – and you will always run into people you know.

Where would we find you on a weekend off?
I like going out for lunch or a snack, mostly to Amsterdam North (Pllek, Canibale Royale Noord, Ceuvel) or to my friends’ bars (Porem, HPS, JD Williams). In the evenings, I like to invite friends over for dinner and drinks. I love to cook and make drinks for people, even when I’m not working.

Tell us something about Amsterdam that a visitor might not know.
Rent a bike, everything here is easy to do by bike. There’s a lot more going on than just the city centre.

© Koen Smilde Photography, Marie-Charlotte Pezé, Erik Smits
kimptondewitthotel.com

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