We are a city packed with human capital
It’s all about people

In Antwerp, you’ll find a highly trained and well motivated workforce.

Antwerp has its own university with a great number of spin-offs and start-ups located nearby. But the appeal of the city reacher a lot wider. Many young graduates come to Antwerp to start their careers and their lives. 

Labour productivity

Labour productivity

Labour productivity (gross domestic product per person employed)
  Euro / person employed
Prov. Antwerp 162.9
Luxembourg 207.6
Brussels 181.6
Paris 176.1
European Union 100.0

An indicator for labour productivity is the gross domestic product per employed person. In order to make a comparison between different countries possible, the gross domestic product is expressed in ´purchasing power standard´ (purchasing power per capita). 

The labour productivity in the province of Antwerp is at the top of the EU.

Labour productivity in Antwerp is lower than in the economic centres of  Luxembourg, Brussels and Paris. It is however higher than any Dutch region except for Amsterdam and any French region other than Paris.

Language skills

Like the rest of Flanders, Antwerp is a Dutch-speaking city. The average Fleming, however, has a good command of several languages, most commonly English and French. However, many also have a command of German, Spanish and/or other languages. From an international perspective, language skills in Flanders are unique.

Highly skilled staff
Percentage of people aged 25-64 with tertiary education qualifications in 2020
Percentage of people aged 25-64 with tertiary education qualifications in 2020

Antwerp’s workforce is highly trained. Over 1 in 3 people aged between 25 and 64 have graduated from tertiary education. One university and several colleges in Antwerp educate nearly 50 000 students per year.

The university’s key research domains are in the fields of harbour & logistics, sustainability, science & engineering, and medical sciences.
In addition, Antwerp is home to a number of specialised knowledge centres linked to the university or the colleges.

Some differences between major cities underline this point:

Degree higher education (in%) Region
41,0 Province of Antwerp
41,1 Eindhoven region
34,6 Bayern
32,1 Lille
Source: Eurostat, 10/2020
Qualified schools

Accreditations & Rankings

The University of Antwerp was the first Belgian university to receive the renowned and prestigious international AACSB accreditations as well as AMBA for its MBA-degree. Its executive MBA program moved up 10 places to rank 45 worldwide and is n.1 in the Benelux. It is the highest ranking ever achieved by a Belgian business school. Also its Master in Management (29th place) is ranked in the yearly Financial Times rankings. The University of Antwerp attained 13th place as well in the top 50 universities ranking 2021.

The university’s key research domains are in the fields of harbour & logistics, sustainability, science & engineering, and medical sciences. In addition, Antwerp is home to a number of specialised knowledge centres linked to the university or the colleges.

Frontline Research Domains

  • Drug Discovery and Development
  • Ecology and Sustainable Development
  • Harbour, Transport and Logistics
  • Imaging
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Materials Characterisation
  • Neuroscience
  • Socio-Economic Policy and Organisation
  • Urban History and Contemporary Urban Policy


Various institutions

Overview of Antwerp institutions for higher education


Universiteit Antwerpen


Business School

Antwerp Management School



AP Hogeschool Antwerpen



Karel de Grote-Hogeschool Antwerpen



Thomas More Antwerpen



Instituut voor Tropische Geneeskunde



Hogere Zeevaartschool Antwerpen



Next to these also the highest ranked Belgian university, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, has several colleges in the city.

A unique concentration of study programmes

Antwerp differentiates itself with its unique concentration of study programmes within a relatively small area. Within a 204 km2 radius, students can choose from more than 200 study programmes offered by the institutions of higher education based in the city, in various disciplines such as economy, history, medical sciences and much more. However, what makes Antwerp extra special is the additional range of (often internationally) renowned programmes in specific knowledge domains related to the clusters of the Antwerp economy.


A selection from the range:
Sector Educational programme or course University or university college
Port and logistics

Academical programme Nautical Sciences and the professional programme Marine Engineering

Antwerp Maritime Academy
Sustainable chemistry Bioscience Engineering programme University of Antwerp
Diamonds Course ‘from rough to brilliant’ Organised by the Fonds voor Diamantnijverheid, HRD Antwerp, Antwerp World Diamond Centre, City of Antwerp and the Flemish Employment and Vocational Training Agency
Digital innovation Postgraduate programme in ‘Internet of Things’ University of Antwerp, University of Ghent and Free University of Brussels
  IoT technician training Artesis Plantijn University College (AP)
  Creative Technologies and Entrepreneurship Programme Karel De Grote Hogeschool
Fashion Fashion programme Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp
Artesis Plantijn University College (AP)
  Master in International Fashion Management Antwerp Management School
Product development Product Development University of Antwerp
Health Several programmes specialised in infectious diseases
and healthcare in developing countries
Institute for Tropical Medicine
  Nursing programme Artesis Plantijn University College (AP)


Thanks to these study programmes, the Antwerp region benefits from a large pool of highly trained and specialised talent that helps shape the future of the Antwerp economy. Managers within companies often recognise a flexible, internationally-focused mentality among the talent in Antwerp that, combined with their multilingualism and good training, enables them to perform well in an increasingly dynamic, global context. Entrepreneurial talent also has every opportunity to flourish at an early stage in Antwerp. For example, TAKEOFFANTWERP, an initiative organised by the Antwerp University Association, City of Antwerp, Chamber of Commerce VOKA and student organisation SYNC, offers various forms of support to starters, including a specific status as a ‘student entrepreneur’.

Higher education & research

Faculties in the spotlight
Design Science

The faculty offers specialised programmes in product development, architecture and renovation. Priority is given to an interdisciplinary approach to material culture, designs, and people and their surroundings.


The faculty looks at fashion as an expression of the emotions from our time , as a relationship between clothes, the body and society, as an artistic and creative enterprise.

Centre for Maritime and Air Transport Management

The main objective of the programme is to help executive staff members from transport-related companies and organisations (shipping companies, port authorities, terminal operators, airlines, airports etc.) to become top-notch executives and researchers in the field. It is specifically designed with an international audience in mind and aimed at individuals with a background in economics or management focusing on transport-related matters

Knowledge Community Creative Industries and Fashion Management

The knowledge community creativity and fashion managements goal is to deepen and develop actual knowledge for creative sector organizations. We use this knowledge to help organizations with the development and growth of their creative competencies.

Global Supply Chain Management

Today, the logistics sector is continuously increasing worldwide and supply chain functions are rapidly gaining importance in international companies. Antwerp being a large port city is the perfect place to learn about supply chain management. 


China-Europe business

If you want to enhance your hands-on management skills and competences, particularly in the Chinese and European market, this unique Master is ideal for you. A joint initiative of two leading business schools, this stimulating program will guide you in the discovery of your personal strengths and prepare you for a booming career in international business.







Expatriates and International Schools
Innovative frontrunner

In the high tech industry, Antwerp is in the fore. In the province of Antwerp there are 536 000 people with a final school certificate in the science and technology fields and/or people employed in this field – the highest number in Belgium.

Human Resources in Science and Technology (in thousands) in 2019
  Total Diploma Profession
Belgium 3 300 2 918 1 891
Flanders 1 931 1 693 1 135
Antwerp province 536 462 314


Over 15,000 people in the province of Antwerp work in research and development. That is over a quarter of all the people in Flanders employed in R&D.

Work force in Research&Development in 2015
  Number Number FTE % Active population % Total employment
Belgium 113 576 77 520 2.31 2.53
Flanders 70 035 46 069 2.38 2.51
Antwerp province 18 172 12 612 2.23 2.38


The province of Antwerp devotes 2.5 billion euros to research and development. That is 24% of the Belgian total and 39% of the Flemish total, which puts Antwerp in first place in Flanders.

Expenditure on research and development in 2015
  Million EUR EUR / Resident % GDP
Belgium 10 118 900.4 2.43
Flanders 6 433 996.9 2.66
Antwerp province 2 477 1 363.2 3.12


The province of Antwerp is the frontrunner when it comes to the number of patent applications, with its 129 patent applications making up 25% of all such applications in Flanders. Over half of these patent applications were made by companies in the district of Antwerp.

Number of patent applications at EPO in 2020
  Total High tech
Belgium 1 279 318
Flanders 877 250
Antwerp province 263 96
Antwerp district 183 77


The Flemish region is a strong innovator according to the Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2019 of the European Commission. Antwerp scores high in terms of budget spent on R&D per citizen compared to other European non-capital cities (source Eurostat - 2020).

Human Resources in Science & Technology

Antwerp has a large population of people who graduated with a degree in Science or Technology (source Eurostat - 2016).

This graph shows the percentage of the active population that has a degree in Science & Technology or works in this domain.

Percentages of active population with a degree in Science & Technology in 2020
Percentages of active population with a degree in Science & Technology in 2020
Labour cost

Labor cost

The labour cost in Antwerp lies 20% lower than Paris and 15% lower than London, even though Antwerp has one of the highest productivity ratio's and education-rates in the world.

This graph shows the average labour cost per FTE in companies with more than ten FTE's in the following sectors: industry, construction & services.

Paris 68 382
Brussels 67 818
London 63 328
Rotterdam 58 989
Hamburg 56 310
Antwerp 54 362
Source Eurostat (03/2016)


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