Amsterdam Science Park helps build a Data Hypermarket

If data is the new gold, how can we ensure that we are all able to profit from its potential? The answer could be the Amsterdam Data Exchange (Amdex), an initiative of the Amsterdam Science Park and the Amsterdam Economic Board in cooperation with multiple public and private partners. The project, as outlined in a recently released report, aims to provide broad access to data for researchers, businesses, governments and individuals in a secure marketplace for data. Inspired by the European Commission’s Open Science Cloud, the project is intended to connect with similar projects across Europe in time, and ultimately even become part of a global movement.

Amsterdam Science Park bouwt aan een data supermarkt (Read this in Dutch) 


The idea originated at a Science and Business dinner organized at the Amsterdam Science Park. With the park’s history of technological innovation and data connectivity, it was a logical step. “Data sharing is already happening here, but on an informal level,” explains Margo Keizer, Manager Community Building & Partnerships. “Now we need to bring together all those different efforts. Of course, in order to do this, we need to tackle various infrastructural and legal issues.” The Amsterdam Data Exchange is developing an approach to do just this, she adds.

“The question is, how can we work with all this data efficiently?” says Wouter Los who, with his extensive experience of working on research infrastructures in the European scientific community, helped to research the report. “Our vision is of an open, democratic playing field,” he explains. “In this model – in contrast to the monopolistic one envisaged by tech giants in the USA – data owners remain owners and decide which data can be shared with whom and under what conditions, while everyone is able to access and use such data in a transparent, trusted marketplace.”

“As a municipality we are faced with an important choice, do we build all technology ourselves or do you make data available to others who can then do something with it?” says Ger Baron, Chief Technology Officer of Amsterdam. “We have thought for years that we could leave it to the market, but now find out that we become too dependent on third parties”. We want to share our data, but on our terms, so that we keep control. This requires a market for data with transparent rules, so that we can decide for ourselves which data to share, with whom and for what purposes this can be used. The Amsterdam Data Exchange would do just that. 

“A data market would promote innovation of all kinds and even democratize scientific research” adds Willem Koeman of the Amsterdam Economic Board, an independent foundation funded by local governments, academia and business. “We could see the return of the citizen scientist, a return to the days of Leonardo da Vinci,” he says. “Open data empowers private individuals and start-ups as well as bigger companies and institutions.

Following the release of the report, which outlines a vision based on consultation with stakeholders, a design plan will be outlined based on pilot projects, he explains. “Sharing data will be the key to solving our 21st-century problems” he says. “And with the Amdex, Amsterdam will be a frontrunner in this.”

Do you want to know more? In May we organize a meeting about the Amsterdam Data Exchange. Send an email to w.koeman@remove-this.amecboard.com to be kept informed.

Read a short manifesto on the Amdex here (dutch)

Read the entire Amdex report here (dutch with english summary) 

More about AMdEX (website Amsterdam Economic Board) 

Back