“Start-ups and scale-ups set the tone for the development of future office areas”

Clear preference for city centres and mixed-use areas

Tech start-ups and scale-ups in the Netherlands have specific preferences for their business locations, as published today in a study conducted by real estate advisor CBRE in cooperation with Dealroom and

No traditional office areas

Of the start-ups and scale-ups, over half (56%) is located in the four major cities1. In addition, 43% of these businesses do not occupy space in office buildings but are instead located in homes or collections of businesses2. Young start-ups in particular are located in other buildings than offices. The need for a formal office increases as the company grows.

Preference for city centres

Tech start-ups and scale-ups are mainly located in city centres, despite high rents. One important reason for this are the many facilities in the immediate surroundings. Residential areas such as Amsterdam West and Rotterdam West are also popular locations, in part as a result of affordable office spaces known as incubator spaces3, and associated options for the expansion of workspaces. This flexibility is important because the number of employees could change rapidly.

Central Business Districts have become less popular

It is striking that Central Business Districts (CBDs) and other large office areas are not in demand with this group of businesses. The Amsterdam Zuidas area and the CBDs in Utrecht are not among the top 5 of most popular locations for start-ups and scale-ups. In third place are the CBDs in Rotterdam and The Hague. Possible reasons include higher rents, larger office spaces and formal settings.

Top 5 areas per city

A CBRE analysis shows which areas in the four major cities are most popular among start-ups and scale-ups.

About CBRE

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2019 revenue). The company has more than 100,000 employees (excluding affiliates) and serves real estate investors and occupiers through more than 530 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at

Impact on urban development

Considering the booming growth of the technology sector, location preferences for start-ups and scale-ups give both investors and municipalities valuable insights. According to CBRE, these types of companies have a strong influence on the appeal and development of an urban area.

Tech start-ups and scale-ups appear to be setting the tone and leading the way in terms of urban development and the emergence of new city districts. Their presence impacts the appeal and ‘branding’ of an urban area. We see that larger companies are showing more interest in these areas due to the creative talent, the opportunities for co-creation and the innovative character that start-ups and scale-ups offer surrounding areas. They show a clear preference for locations beyond the standard CBDs, such as city centres and mixed-use areas. Future office locations in cities are clearly recognisable.
Joep van Vliet, Associate Director Research

The full report can be downloaded here.

  1. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht
  2. Creative centres such as Science Tower in Rotterdam, B Amsterdam in Amsterdam and Bink 36 in The Hague.
  3. Co-working spaces such as Science Tower in Rotterdam, B Amsterdam in Amsterdam and Bink 36 in The Hague.