Business Services

Antwerp. The epicenter of business services in Flanders.

More than 20% of the total added value in business services in Flanders is generated in the city of Antwerp. The city is responsible for over 25% of all employment in business services in Flanders.

Antwerp has large sectors in:

  • Head offices and consultancy
  • Financial services
  • ICT services
  • Legal and accounting services
  • Temping and placement services
  • Architects and engineers
  • Cleaning companies and landscaping companies
  • Administrative services such as invoicing, payroll, collection agencies, the organisation of conventions and trade shows, call centres
  • Advertising and market research
  • Technical services including designers, photographers, translators, managers, experts
  • Rental and leasing
  • Travel agencies
  • Security
  • Scientific research
  • Veterinary services

Why invest?

World-class clusters for chemistry, logistics and diamonds

Europe’s largest, most diversified and integrated chemistry cluster is in Antwerp. The port of Antwerp is the largest European port for conventional cargo and the second largest European container port offering the widest range of logistics services, compared with other European ports. Eighty percent of all rough diamonds and 50% of polished diamonds are trade on Antwerp’s diamond exchanges.

Each of these clusters requires business services, for example banks and insurance for the diamond cluster, agencies and other maritime services for the logistics cluster and engineering companies for the chemical cluster.

Affordable offices in prime locations

The Eilandje district forms the transition between the city centre and the port, which is why several maritime service providers have offices here. They work with other service providers in the city centre but this location allows them to quickly get to the port if necessary.

Antwerp’s diamond district is situated in the centre of the city. Here you will find the offices of several service providers to the diamond industry. Berchem, West Park / Regatta and Nieuw Zuid, to be developed in the near future, offer ultra-modern buildings as well as beautifully renovated historic office buildings.

The rental prices are significantly lower than in other cities, with an average of 145 euros per sq.m.

A highly educated and multilingual workforce

One in three people of Antwerp’s population between the ages of 25 and 64 years have a degree of higher education. Language skills in Antwerp are excellent, as is the case all over Belgium. More than a quarter of the Belgian population speaks three or more foreign languages.

Easy access for international business traffic

London, Europe’s largest centre for business services, can be reached by direct flight from Antwerp Airport in one hour. The check-in time is only 15 minutes. There are also regular HST connections from Antwerp to London (3h09m), Paris (2h02m), Charles de Gaulle Airport (2h15m), Amsterdam (1h11m) and Schiphol Airport (0h54m).

The sector in figures

The City of Antwerp has 6,846 companies that have to file accounts every year as well as 3,805 self-employed who all provide business services. The companies generate a total added value of 4.4 billion euros, with a workforce of 60,490 employees. Business services by far are the city’s biggest activity, in terms of the number of companies and especially in terms of the workforce employed. In terms of added value the business services sector is comparable with industry.

Largest sectors by number of companies:

  • consultancy (1.637)
  • financial services (1.134)
  • ICT services (842)

Largest sectors in terms of added value:

  • Temp agencies and placement (1.4 billion euros)
  • Head offices (790 million euros)
  • Architects and engineers (359 million euros)
In Antwerp, the fashion hotspot of Europe, The Canvas opened a sustainable marketplace for fashion, art and experiences, as they describe themselves.
Last year, innovation hub The Beacon made international fame in the field of the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence applications, proving that technology can provide the answer to complex urban issues. Top technological talent from 22 nationalities is active there in 64 companies and research institutions, and during 106 events, a good 4,000 experts in digital innovation were reached at home and abroad. In order to respond even better to the rapid developments in the technological landscape, and to confirm their commitment, the founding partners have now joined forces in vzw The Beacon. This new structure allows them to further grow into a European reference point for the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence applications.
The Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) is the world's largest trade fair about cities and smart urban solutions. The city of Antwerp presents its urban innovations aimed at creating a sustainable society.