Every city faces challenges in the field of sustainability, mobility, and livability. CreativeNL promotes an international program of joint creative thinking with the Dutch creative industries to find answers.

Nowadays, cities are facing huge changes. A new digital infrastructure unlocks new shared service concepts and challenges existing societal interactions. In this context, creativity is a powerful tool to bring about the right impact. With a well-developed digital infrastructure in the Netherlands and a strong solution-oriented approach, the Dutch creative industries bring in the experience to address these issues.

Cities worldwide face the challenge to develop real human-centred solutions for communities in the field of digitisation, energy, mobility, livability, health. Working together on this seems obvious, which is why CreativeNL, representing the Dutch creative industries abroad, supports a collaboration between the creative industries in the cities of Munich and Amsterdam.

Named the Creative Embassy MUC-AMS, this initiative brings together different backgrounds to the same challenges. This is why both cities complement each other perfectly in the development of the smart city, using human-centred design and a strong marker DNA. Possible solutions are invented and tested in joint creative field labs, realising impact for citizens, the city, the creative agencies involved and other stakeholders.

The collaboration between both cities, which started in 2017, was renewed in October 2021 with the signing of a Letter of Intent, recognising that such a cross-border cooperation with focus on innovation and the creative industry and the creative industry and with a learning attitude towards each other’s skills and specialties will benefit both sides. The cooperation offers the opportunity to join forces and contribute to a resilient, innovative, and futureproof city.

Shared knowledge

On the occasion, Deputy Mayor Victor Everhardt from the City of Amsterdam, said: »This cooperation between the creative businesses in both cities is very important for Amsterdam. The knowledge shared accelerates the innovative process and makes our companies more competitive.«
The Head of the Department of Labor and Economic Development of the City of Munich, Clemens Baumgärtner, stated: »The City of Munich is actively working to strengthen and expand its position as a centre of innovation. The Amsterdam metropolitan region has many interesting, innovative companies and shows courage in trying out new ideas – we can certainly learn from them.«

What are »Cities of Things«?

The first field lab approach under the renewed Dutch-German collaboration is themed »Cities of Things« and explores new city life that is shaped by the emerging digital layer, offering new intelligent and autonomous services and objects. Humans and technology will become partners in dealing with upcoming city challenges.

In both Munich and Amsterdam, numerous initiatives investigate the possibilities of intelligent digital technologies and the new relationships between intelligent systems and citizens. The Cities of Things concept explores how new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) combined with the Internet of Things (IoT) can become part of the daily lives of city inhabitants. With the help of the creative industries, solutions are being sought for the increasing influence of these technologies on people, organisations, and society.

In this joint effort, the neighbourhood will function as a starting point. ‘Thinking on a small human scale’ is a typical contribution of Design Thinking. This will help determine how the ecosystem of objects and systems can help stimulate local entrepreneurship and bridge the best of digital and physical for common neighbourhood citizens.

Share your ideas

As every designer knows, it all starts by asking the right questions. The differences in culture and city fabrics between Munich and Amsterdam stimulate the exploration of creative solutions that are adaptive and scalable, but still defend the human scale. The local field lab approach stimulates a learning environment that delivers insights on how to achieve results that will be accepted and used by citizens. The Creative Embassy MUC-AMS plans to investigate other topics too using this same collaborative approach. We invite you as a visitor of MCBW 2022 to share ideas for new research topics that in the end will benefit us all.

More informationen via and

Contact persons:
Iskander Smit (Founder of Cities of Things Foundation, the Netherlands)
Carina Weijma (Business Development manager Germany, topsector Creative Industries )
Frieke Meijer-Schepman (Innovation Manager, City of Munich, Germany)

The conversation with CreativeNL was first published in the MCBW MAG as part of MCBW 2022.

Events at MCBW 2022

Cities of Things – designing for a new paradigm of the smart city

A consortium of creative partners from Amsterdam and Munich have been shaping the first ideas and plans for a responsible intelligent neighbourhood hub that empowers citizens and increases liveability through sustainable logistics.Join the field lab program Cities of Things between the creative cities Munich and Amsterdam.