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Opinion
Lionel Laurent

Amsterdam Is Having a Financial Renaissance. Europe Must Take Note

SPACs, semiconductors and straight-talking have given the city a boost, but competing with hubs in the U.S. and Asia requires more coordination.

Upgraded those tulips.

Upgraded those tulips.

Photographer: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images Europe

Amsterdam’s historical significance for global capitalism is hard to overstate. It created the stock market, the tulip bubble and a mega-corporation so big it had its own money, army and colony. Economists later wondered if there was something almost spiritual in the way the Dutch took to money.

That fascination ebbed as empires fell and the era of global investment banking began, pitting Wall Street against London. The messy carve-up of Dutch bank ABN Amro in 2007 signaled the party’s end. The pride of Dutch finance became tax planning, shell companies and … Shell’s companies.