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Foreign Affairs Office of Beijing Municipal Government
2022-02-23  |  

[Overview] Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, located in the western province of North Holland. The city is one to five meters below sea level. It covers an area of 219 square kilometers and has a population of 854,000. Its role as the country's capital city is rather symbolic. According to the law, the inauguration ceremony of the Dutch monarch and other important ceremonies are held in Amsterdam, but the Dutch Parliament, Prime Minister's Office, and central government agencies, as well as foreign embassies and international organizations are located in the Hague.

[Politics] Amsterdam is governed by the city council and the College of Mayor and Alderpersons. The city council is the highest governing body of the city and is responsible for the city's important decision-making and budget-related work. The council has 45 members who are directly elected for a four-year term. The College of Mayor and Alderpersons is responsible for daily management and operations of the city, including drafting resolutions to be submitted to the city council for consideration and acting on the resolutions adopted by the council. It consists of the mayor and nine alderpersons who are elected by the city council from its members and perform their duties as city council members concurrently. The mayor is not elected but appointed by the King for a term of six years. As the chairperson of both the city council and the College of Mayor and Alderpersons, the mayor has no voting right in the city council. The mayor also heads the city's Police Department, responsible for maintaining public order. The current Mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, took office in July 2018.

[Economy] Amsterdam is the economic, financial and business center of the Netherlands. Financial and business services, creative industries, high-tech materials and manufacturing, and information technology are the city's pillar industries. Amsterdam leads the world in the number of companies engaging in business services and creative industries. In recent years, Amsterdam has worked hard to attract companies to settle down in the city. Many foreign companies have located their headquarters or representative offices in the city. The Zuidas business district has brought together the five largest law firms of the Netherlands as well as many world-renowned consulting firms. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange in the city center is the first stock market in the world and one of the largest in Europe.

[Culture and Education] Amsterdam is the country's education and technology center. The most famed universities in the city are the University of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The citizens are highly educated. Amsterdam recognizes English as the second official language after Dutch. It has a long history and rich cultural heritage. More than 50 museums and ancient canals in the city attract a large number of tourists from all over the world every year.

[Relations with Beijing] On October 29, 1994, Beijing and Amsterdam established a sister city relationship. In recent years, the two cities have maintained good official ties and engaged in various forms of exchanges and cooperation in the fields of investment, trade, culture, design, water affairs, and smart city.

Investment and Trade: The two cities' exchanges in this regard are mainly concentrated in finance. The Bank of Beijing has signed a number of cooperation agreements and memorandums with ING over matters such as share subscription, strategic partnership agreement, going carbon neutral, insurance business, joint venture, and innovation cooperation. The collaboration between the two banks is regarded as a successful model of financial cooperation between China and the Netherlands.

Culture and Design: In September 2011, the Van Gogh and the Impressionists exhibition was held in Beijing, attracting visitors from all over the country. As guest city of Beijing Design Week 2013, Amsterdam held the Florentijn Hofman's Rubber Duck exhibitions at Beijing Garden Expo Park and the Summer Palace, Design Goes Dutch exhibition, Van Gogh Museum Edition Collection Exhibition and other featured events in Beijing.

Smart City: In September 2013, the two cities jointly held the first Sino-Dutch Forum on Smart City in Beijing, kickstarting their cooperation in the field of smart city. In June 2015, the two cities jointly held the second Sino-Dutch Forum on Smart City in Amsterdam. In September 2016, the two cities signed the Memorandum of Understanding for Strategic Cooperation on Smart City. In September 2018, Beijing University of Technology and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam organized a seminar on smart city in Amsterdam. The China-Netherlands Belt and Road Cooperation Forum was held at around the same time.

Water Affairs: The water authorities of the two cities have maintained good exchanges and cooperation. Beijing Water Authority has sent staff many times to participate in the Amsterdam International Water Week or to study urban water management in Amsterdam.