Amsterdam Sharing City

Amsterdam is the first Sharing City in Europe and was initiated by shareNL. The purpose of Amsterdam Sharing City is to seize the opportunities that the sharing economy offers in the areas of sustainability, social cohesion and economy. And secondly to formulate answers to the challenges this rapidly growing phenomenon entails.


Amsterdam’s rich heritage and culture, its spirit of commerce, its innovative infrastructure, its live-ability and its creativity set it apart from other major European cities. Moreover, findings from Pieter van de Glind's research on the consumer potential of Collaborative Consumption showed that more than 84% of the ‘Amsterdammers’ are willing to share. All these aspects made (make) the city the ideal platform for the sharing (or: collaborative) economy to flourish on.

Watch the videos where Pieter and Harmen further explain why they found Amsterdam a good fit to become a Sharing City. 

‘The sharing economy is all about the products and services that lead to a happy, sustainable and connected life.’  shareNL

‘The sharing economy is not a question of ban or authorize, but of monitor and seize opportunities where possible.’

- Sharing Economy Action Plan (City of Amsterdam)


Purpose and objective

The purpose of the Sharing City initiative is to create a playground for pilot projects. An urban living lab where all stakeholders pilot with this new phenomenon and share insights and experiences. Amsterdam already houses a large number of promising sharing economy platforms, but it’s also up to more ‘traditional’ organizations like for instance SMEs, NGOs and local governments to start addressing the sharing economy. From startups to corporates,
from community center to public library, from an insurer to the airport: they’re all ambassadors
putting Amsterdam on the map as a city that has sharing on its mind.



There are numerous opportunities that grow out of the
collaborative/sharing economy and the Sharing City initiative, such as:

  • an increased sustainable- and efficient use of scarce resources;
  • an enhanced affordability and accessibility of products and services for consumer;
  • nurturing innovation of products & services;
  • attracting creative industries and fostering a knowledge economy;
  • increasing social cohesion and safety;
  • improving efficiency of space and mobility;
  • creating opportunities for new public-private partnerships;
  • enabling growth of local economic investments;
  • identifying possibilities of new means of existence;
  • making accessibility easier and empowering for example entrepreneurs.

 The collaborative/sharing economy can create challenges such as:

  • an unfair playing field;
  • a risk of market dominance;
  • exponential growth and monopoly;
  • doubts and difficulties regarding social security and labour laws;
  • questions concerning when to be considered a consumer/citizen and when an entrepreneur;
  • difficulties in monitoring quality, safety, disturbance and when to intervene;
  • oversimplified image;
  • there is not enough attention on the perspective of the user;
  • a difficulty to predict the development of the trend and impact.

The Action Plan that was agreed upon by the Mayor and Executive Board of the municipality of Amsterdam in 2016, also describes the opportunities and challenges.



On February 2nd 2015, Amsterdam was pronounced the first Sharing City in Europe. With this,
Amsterdam positions itself as a leader in the field of the sharing (or ‘collaborative’) economy. 

Amsterdam Sharing City was initiated by shareNL and is a joint initiative from the city municipality an ‘ambassadors’ from all corners of the city to work together: from startups to corporates, from community center to public library, and from knowledge institution to the municipality. Part of the plan of Pieter van de Glind and Harmen van Sprang was not only to come up with a vision, but also to create a network of ‘ambassadors’ throughout the city. In their eyes, the city is formed by not only its citizens and the municipality. Not in the least, also entrepreneurs, enterprises and for example knowledge institutions shape the city of today. So what the co-founders of shareNL did, was involving
all these ‘players’ and let them accede the network of ambassadors.

There are numerous projects and initiatives taken since the launch of Amsterdam Sharing City.


Cities experience many challenges, and many of them can in fact be solved through working with the concept of the Sharing City. Cities should start recognizing the Sharing City as a model that applies to solving a number of challenges. Cities should look at their own environment and circumstances to find an approach to become a Sharing City – every city is different and every city needs to utilize their local context and resources to become a Sharing City.
Read the 7 reasons why a city would want to become a Sharing City.

Cities need to take multiple steps towards the goal of becoming a Sharing City, and all players need to be involved in order to become successful. Research in the field and around Sharing Cities needs to be available for decision makers and implementers. Collaboration between all stakeholders, i.e. initiatives, companies, institutions and the government in the city is key in creating a consensus of the goal of a Sharing City. Thus, local initiatives should be involved in the process.



There's no doubt that the collaborative economy is more than a trend and here to stay. Cities experience challenges and opportunities, and the collaborative economy can aid in resolving many of those. Moreover, challenges that come with the new economy have to be identified and tackled. Every city is experiencing a change in their ecosystem. The next step of how to work with this could be to join the Sharing Cities Alliance where you receive support and knowledge of how to work with challenges and opportunities. You are also connected to other cities for city-to-city learning. 

‘The consumer has in recent years become increasingly powerful. The sharing economy is a huge opportunity. It just fits well with Amsterdam. That’s why we want to be known as a Sharing City’ – Kajsa Ollongren  (vice mayor City of Amsterdam)


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