Amsterdam among 19 contenders for EU medicines agency

Amsterdam wants to locate the EMA in its Zuidas business district. Photo:

Amsterdam is among the 19 contenders for the new location of the European Medicines Agency when it is forced out of London as Brexit takes its bite in 2019.

Applications to host the agency closed on Monday night and result will be announced on September 30.

Amsterdam’s candidacy is headed by caretaker health minister Edith Schippers along with Amsterdam deputy mayor Kajsa Ollongren and ‘special ambassador’ Wouter Bos,  a former finance minister and current chairman of the VU University teaching hospital.

The Dutch government said last month it would finance a purpose-built €250m to €300m building for the EMA, which would then pay the market rate for the space.

Ollongren said no special deals – low or no rent – would be on offer. She added these deals were unnecessary in Amsterdam, citing the Zuidas’s fast links to Schiphol airport, the availability of hotel rooms, expat help for EMA staffers and their partners and plans to increase the number of places in nearby international schools.

European capitals

For his part, Bos will visit the necessary European capitals to convince officials that Amsterdam is the best location for the EMA.

The EMA is a decentralised agency of the EU, which began operations in 1995. It is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the EU. The agency has a workforce of some 900 people, mainly highly skilled, from all over Europe.

Aside from Amsterdam, the contenders for the EMA re-positioning are: Athens, Barcelona, Bonn, Bratislavia, Brussels, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, Lille, Malta, Milan, Porto, Sofia, Stockholm, Vienna, Warsaw and Zagreb.


Meanwhile, the official film put together to support the Dutch effort seems to consider having a stylish queen and a liking for herring as reasons to move the EU agency to Amsterdam.

British newspaper the Daily Mail describes the video as ‘baffling’ and ‘bewildering’.

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