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Harry Grosveld from the Universiteit van Amsterdam has examined the competitive profiles of thirty-two international cities.

In a world where borders are fading and competition is increasingly international, countries and cities should never lose sight of their competitive position. By way of a take-over, merger or joint venture, a company can reinforce its position. Countries and cities can not. They rely solely on their own competitive advantages. Harry Grosveld, who will be getting his Ph.D. on 15 May at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, has examined the competitive profiles of thirty-two metropolises including Amsterdam. All across the globe, Grosveld examined the perception of a total of 1,300 city-makers: companies and agencies that help shape a city’s international contours. Amsterdam ranks high on such aspects as museums, culture, and trade and transport.

Although Michael Porter conducted a study in 1990 on the competitive factors at the national level, it was a long time before anyone dared launch an integral survey of the aspects that shape a city’s competitive profile. This is why Harry Grosveld, the former Director of Economic Affairs of the City of Amsterdam, approached 1,300 city-makers in the period from 1998 to 2001 and asked their opinions on the competitive position of eighty metropolises. Based on their opinions, Grosveld ranked the global appreciation for each of the cities. He addressed the position of the cities regarding all the aspects collectively (integral perception) and each of the aspects separately, i.e. culture, hospitality, real estate and architecture, international trade and transport, science, corporate services, museums, media, finances, international organizations and multinationals. Based on the data, he presented the international competitive profiles of thirty-two metropolises. Grosveld holds that the selected competitive factors make it possible to estimate the repercussion of for example Sabena shutting down in Brussels, the World Trade Center disaster in New York, or Berlin’s chances of joining the Big Four (London, New York, Paris and Tokyo).

London and New York lead the lists in virtually every field, followed at some distance by Paris and Tokyo. Amsterdam is sixth on Grosveld’s lists of top cities for museums and international trade and transport, eighth for culture (ballet, opera and music), and ninth for corporate services. As knowledge and science centre, for its hospitality and for international organizations, Amsterdam is among the top fifteen. In the comparison on all the aspects collectively, Amsterdam ranks thirteenth among the leading cities of the world.