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7 good reasons - and more - to make Antwerp your launchpad

Antwerp, your business, our drive: this tagline sums it up pretty well. Let us present seven reasons Antwerp is such a good place to start and grow your business. Actually there are many, many more reasons to set up business in this thriving port city – not least the support we can offer to help make all your entrepreneurial ambitions come true.

Second largest port in Europe

Port of Antwerp-Bruges has a unique strategic location, is the second largest port in Europe and offers numerous international trade and logistics opportunities. It’s also a port of the future that is actively implementing smart solutions such as automation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics to optimise port operations and reduce its environmental impact. It is the largest European port for both conventional cargo and containers, with the widest range of value-added logistics and industrial services of any European port. 

Europe’s largest integrated future-proof chemical cluster

Port of Antwerp-Bruges is home to Europe’s most significant integrated chemical cluster, the second-largest worldwide. Various global players in the chemical production sector are based here, either logistically or with a production unit. Far-reaching integration and diversity make this chemical value chain unique in the world. Cutting-edge logistics experts ensure the safe storage, handling and distribution of oil, chemicals and gasses. A state-of-the-art pipeline network facilitates product interchange with over 1,000 kilometres of pipelines. Hydrogen is a strong driver for a massive and defining energy transition in Port of Antwerp-Bruges. Moreover, Antwerp’s ecosystem includes various innovation hubs for every sustainable chemistry entrepreneur, whether your technology readiness is low, high or somewhere in between. All innovation hubs are closely connected, ensuring a productive and suitable environment no matter the life stage of your business or innovation.  

Oldest, purest and largest diamond hub in Europe

An important player in the world of diamonds since the 15th century, Antwerp proudly claims the title of Diamond Capital with the oldest, largest and most transparent diamond industry worldwide. Due to a combination of innovation, sustainability, creativity and transparency, it is the leading business centre for the global diamond industry. Its diamond district attracts traders, manufacturers, and jewelers from around the world, facilitating the buying and selling of diamonds on a large scale. Antwerp's diamond industry embraces cutting-edge technologies and the city has implemented rigorous regulations to ensure that diamonds traded within its borders are conflict-free and adhere to ethical standards 

How can we help?

Starting a company 

The means are available, the rest lies in your own hands. As successfully starting a business also requires support, the City of Antwerp offers you advice tailored to your business. Examples of areas in which the city’s Investdesk provides new companies with customised support: 

  • Opening a hospitality business 
  • Setting up a pop-up shop 
  • Requesting environmental permits 
  • Acquiring a company ID number 
  • ...

Innovation powerhouse

Antwerp has a thriving ecosystem for innovation and technology, with various incubators, accelerators, and start-up hubs providing support to start-ups and scale-ups. Innovative domains include the development of a port of the future, sustainable chemistry, health, fashion and diamond but also climate change solutions. Antwerp's rich history of innovation has resulted in a culture of experimentation and adaptation. Thanks to repeated change throughout history, it has the flexibility and resilience needed to conquer modern challenges. Antwerp serves as a prime example of how a city's past can lay the groundwork for a prosperous future. 

Skilled and highly productive workforce

Antwerp is home to over 50,000 students, the majority of whom are drawn here by its university. With campuses all over the city, the University of Antwerp is famous for its excellent, high-quality, innovative research. Antwerp offers a range of internationally-renowned programmes in areas of study relevant to the city’s economy such as logistics and technology. Creativity goes hand-in-hand with good, reliable business insights, which can be developed at the Financial Times-ranked Antwerp Management School. Its executive MBA programme is considered the best in the Benelux. With regard to creative pursuits, arts and fashion immediately come to mind. Antwerp offers world-class educational opportunities in these fields, for example at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. The Academy is one of the leading fashion schools in the world and has produced numerous influential fashion designers

Unbeatable quality of life

Antwerp is a vibrant city with an unbeatable quality of life, great for children and students, safe and affordable. It’s a city you’ll love to live in. Antwerp has a rich culture and history and offers a vibrant nightlife, delicious food and drinks and numerous arts and cultural events. Antwerp is often regarded as one of the most livable cities in the world, with excellent healthcare and public amenities. A diverse, multicultural population makes for a lively and cosmopolitan city. 

Strategic location

What else? Antwerp ranks among the top six places in fDI’s rankings for 2023 due to its strategic location. The city is located in the heart of Europe and benefits from excellent connections with other major European cities and regions. It’s an ideal gateway for all major European and international industrial and consumer markets. City and port offer the fastest, cheapest and most convenient connections with the European hinterland. Over 60% of European purchasing power is situated within 500 kilometres of the city. A great starting point for access to European customers and industry.