Amsterdam: the pharma / life science hub in Europe!

Here's why top pharma and life sciences companies for which intellectual property and trade secrets are the core of their business are considering to move to the largest city of the Netherlands.

It is not just because of its stunning canals, beautiful flowers, or the ability to bike to work! There are various other reasons why it is said that the greater Amsterdam area (including Eindhoven, Leiden, Utrecht and Wageningen) is growing to be the pharma and life science hub in Europe! Here's why:

  • Concentrated pharma and life science clusters

As of March 2019, Amsterdam will be the proud home of the European Medicines Agency ("EMA"), which agency of the European Union ensures that all medicines available on the European markets are safe, effective and of high quality. A short 30 minute drive away from the envisaged new headquarters of EMA on the Zuid-As, European patent applications are examined and granted by the European Patent Office, boasting a staff of 2500 people in its The Hague branch office.

Lifesciences and (Big)Pharma companies with offices in the Netherlands are well organized and represented in combined interest groups such as the Association for Innovative Medicines (Vereniging Innovatieve Geneesmiddelen) and HollandBio (specifically for Biotec companies), with relevant influence in Dutch politics, as well as around the corner in European politics in Brussels.

With thousands of pharma, life sciences, medical technology companies, research institutions and other intellectual property organizations all within a close range from each other, the greater Amsterdam area has one of the most concentrated pharma and life science clusters in the world!

  • Powerhouse of research & development and intellectual property

With a dozen research universities and eighty-two hospitals, eight of which are university medical centers and the presence of the European Union's key intellectual property offices, the Netherlands offers world class resources for research & development of intellectual property in a variety of ways. The Dutch government is keen to boost research & development opportunities, inter alia by granting subsidies, which is merely one of the reasons that in the Netherlands it is quite common that science, industry and government often work often closely together in public-private partnerships.

Research & development activities require serious attention for non-disclosure agreements and clear arrangements regarding ownership, valorization and capitalization of the intellectual property involved.

  • Clinical Research: high quality infrastructure and fast approval

The infrastructure in place for performing clinical trials in the Netherlands is known to be of very high quality. Due to excellent specialists, universities and medical research centers, a large amount of useful collaborations between various organizations, a good healthcare system and the presence of key intellectual property institutions, the approval process for  clinical research is faster in the Netherlands than in European countries. The pace of the process will only be increased with EMA just around the corner.

  • Place to be for Intellectual Property and Trade Secret owners

Case law over the recent years learned that generally the Dutch courts are not afraid to assume jurisdiction and grant pan-European injunctions. This pan-European jurisdiction combined with quick access to the courts, results in legal protection of intellectual property rights and trade secrets that is generally less costly in the Netherlands compared to other European countries.

In addition, Pharma and life sciences companies in the Netherlands can thoroughly protect and enforce their crown jewels with their (European) intellectual property rights such as patents, trademarks and copyrights, but also via the new and improved trade secret legislation that will be in force as per June 9th, 2018. These rights thus offer both easy and swift access to the Dutch courts, which is key in order to protect intellectual property rights and trade secrets in an adequate manner. 

So pack your bags and move to Amsterdam!

For more information of questions regarding any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact Kriek Wille ( or Helmer Klingenberg ( from the intellectual property team at Van Doorne.

Move your assets to the Netherlands

We welcome EMA to the Netherlands, and with it, all companies relocating to Amsterdam as a result of this move.

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