Friday 10 July 2020

European Medicines Agency is almost open for business in Amsterdam

Flags outside the new EMA building. Photo: Odi Busman

The new European Medicines Agency offices in Amsterdam were formally opened on Friday, almost two years to the day that the Dutch capital won the race to host the organisation.

However, the workforce will remain based at temporary offices in Amsterdam’s Sloterdijk district until early next year while technical equipment is installed and tested. The agency expects staff can move into their new offices and workspaces in January 2020.

The city’s pitch to persuade the EMA to relocate to the Dutch capital included the promise of a new purpose-built office building in the city’s Zuidas business district.The 19-storey building has space for 1,300 workers and no fewer than 19 meeting rooms.

The agency was forced to move from London because of the Brexit vote.

The Dutch government has financed the building for the EMA, which will now pay the market rate for the space. The final construction price was put at €255m, plus 20 years maintenance.

The Dutch government also offered an €18m sweetener and a full relocation package for the agency’s 900 staff.

Some 80% of the agency’s staff went on to make the move to the Netherlands, although a large proportion opted not to live in Amsterdam, preferring instead to be closer to the European schools in The Hague and Bergen.

The health ministry says the arrival of EMA will bring with it a further 1,550 jobs in research institutes, support services and other healthcare-related companies.

The Netherlands already hosts two European institutions – Europol and Eurojust.

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