8 Things to Know About Amsterdam Startup Life

Arin Headshot.JPG

Arin Yu

Sage Corps Fellow Amsterdam 2019

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work in the Amsterdam Startup scene? Sage Corps Fellow Arin Yu from the University of Michigan gives us the inside scoop below.

1. Know Your Transportation!

Here in Amsterdam, there are so many ways to get around the city- walking, biking, the tram, and the metro are just the main methods! Be prepared to traverse across roads that include six to eight lanes (on average) for all the different types of transit. With apps like Moovit, it won’t be too hard to navigate around, but be sure to look up your routes first before embarking on your adventures or first commute to work!

2. Can’t Speak Dutch? No Big Deal!

Most of your coworkers (and even locals) are quite fluent in English in addition to Dutch. So don’t worry about awkward language barriers - you’ll find yourself joking with your boss or talking about the news with your deskmate sooner than you think!

3. The Biggest Themes in Startup Work…

Many startups here in Amsterdam are engaged in work related to social impact, sustainability, or tech. A lot of them are in specialized niches within their industries that you won’t find anywhere else! Get ready for networking events where you’ll discover a lot of awesome small-scale companies doing large-impact work.

Arin and her coworkers have a blast with a photo booth!

Arin and her coworkers have a blast with a photo booth!

4. Curiosity Goes Both Ways!

As many questions as you may have for your coworkers about life in The Netherlands, they probably have just as many questions for you about the States! Getting to share different life experiences with others is a huge part of what this program is about, and a great way to make lasting connections. So feel free to talk about American high schools and food in addition to work-related topics!

5. Smaller Teams = More Bonding

If the company you work for has a team of ten people, then it’s actually a pretty big startup! On the other hand, you might even find that you’re only the second or third employee ever hired to work there. Though that might seem strange, it’s actually something to take advantage of. You’ll become close with the CEO, and spend more time with each of your coworkers. It’s a super unique environment, and the intimacy makes it that much more fun

6. Espresso, Espresso, Espresso...

Europeans drink espresso and coffee all day, every day! If you’re a caffeine person, you’ll it right in, sipping a cup next to the (free!) Nespresso machines. Most workspaces will  also have a boiling kettle if tea is more your style!

7. Fridays Are For Happy Hour!

In classic Dutch tradition, you’ll end your Fridays by gathering with coworkers over some beers and wine to officially finish a week of hard work! In some office spaces, you might even be playing some virtual reality games or chatting with employees from other startups. It’s the perfect way to kickstart the weekend!

8. Dive Right In

Lastly, make the most out of your experience! Don’t be afraid to ask your boss about any projects you’d want to start or contribute to during your time here. Show your initiative from the very first day, and employ your skills where they’re needed most. You might never get another chance to work in such a unique environment, and you’ll find the greatest rewards come from being enthusiastic and eager to go beyond what’s expected of you.

Follow @sagecorps and @sc.amsterdam_ to stay up to date with our fellows! Check out some of the other blogs written by Sage Corps Fellows in AMsterdam.