Canals, tulips, and coffee shops are probably the first things that come to mind when thinking about Amsterdam. Yet soon, the city will also resonate with “sharing”. In February 2015, Amsterdam was named the first European Sharing City. The objective of Amsterdam Sharing City is to use the opportunities that the collaborative economy offers in the fields of sustainability, social cohesion and economy. Thanks to its extensive digital infrastructure and its citizen base that is able to use it, the city now encompasses several innovative sharing economy projects and initiatives such as the well-known borrowing platform Peerby.
The rise of the collaborative economy offers both substantial opportunities and challenges to the city of Amsterdam and its businesses, city leaders and residents. The collaborative economy holds promise for solving the many problems in housing, mobility, waste and healthcare by leveraging on goods and capital which were traditionally not used. Yet, the collaborative economy also brings along new challenges. As we have seen with Uber in many European cities, new organizational models are likely to enter into fierce competition with the older, regulated models (e.g. regular taxis). There is therefore a need to adapt laws and regulations in order to take into account new organizational models and prevent the creation of an imbalanced playground.