Clients High On Amersterdam Agencies

International Herald Tribune: Amsterdam is emerging as a plucky player in the global advertising market.
Amsterdam-based agencies, particularly small “hot shops” like 180 are snatching multinational clients away from sprawling agency groups based in London or New York.
“We’ve created a sort of mini-UN here,” Guy Hayward says of 180, which is based in the house along the Herengracht canal. “We have people from all over the world under one roof, coming up with lots of ideas for the places they know.”
Among the roughly 90 employees at 180, 20 nationalities are represented. That is not unusual in Amsterdam, where other hot shops attracting marketers’ attention include Wieden + Kennedy, StrawberryFrog, KesselsKramer and Selmore.
But why Amsterdam? Some might joke that legal and easy access to marijuana provides the stimulus for creativity, but Amsterdam ad executives say there are more rational reasons for the city’s development as a creative hub.
Agency heads say it is easy to attract employees from around the world because of the Dutch comfort wirth English, which eases language barriers that might exist elsewhere in Europe. And once they get here, it is easy to maintain an international perspective, they add, because Dutch identity does not assert itself as aggressively as, say, the French, British or American mindset that permeates agencies based in Paris, London or New York.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. True. There’s no doubt about the kind of work that is done by agencies like StrawberryFrog, KesselsKramer and Selmore. Most of their work is truly out of this world. But it’s not too far away before Asian countries, especially India, start helping markets like the US. I’ve been reading tons of articles on outsourcing which will soon become the trend. In fact, I’ve been reading quite a bit about this agency called Banerjee & Partners ( They seem to be having a solid strategy. So while Amsterdam will continue to be a hot favorite destination for marketers, Asia will soon follow.