The Netherlands is 3-5 years behind in technology production, meaning most technology workers here are unaware of tools and techniques their American counterparts take for granted. Technologists here are so behind, they are even out of date with how they bitch about technology here.
People here have been complaining about the same things for so long, and making the same bad conclusions, it's become a party line. This was recently, depressingly summed up in the Amsterdam Startup Manifesto, which would be an eerily visionary prediction of Appsterdam if it had been published 3 years ago.
Indeed, while it described Appsterdam in great detail, it didn't mention Appsterdam at all, until they later tacked on something as if Appsterdam throws a few events here and there, when in fact they host over half the technology meetups in the city, with an event on average every other day.
This unintentionally demonstrates the biggest thing holding Amsterdam back—that its people spend time writing manifestos bemoaning the lack of things that exist, rather than contributing to those things, or making their own better versions of those things.
Nobody is going to make you a technology hub against your will, and the way to become a technology hub is not by whining about not being a technology hub, but by producing technology. Shut up and ship, and the money will follow, whether you stay here or move to California.
Or this idea that Amsterdam will never be the next Silicon Valley because Berlin is cheaper and grungier, as if Silicon Valley is a city, instead of a lot of different cities. This would be like San Franciscans saying they couldn't be a tech hub because they are not as cheap or grungy as San Jose.
Nobody outside of Amsterdam thinks Berlin is a technology hub. Americans look genuinely confused when I mention that idea, and people from Berlin call Appsterdam to ask why they're not attracting more Americans. (Answer: no English language immigration procedure or entrepreneurial treaty.)
Germans come to the Netherlands to learn App Making from the Big Nerd Ranch, and Americans eschew training in Atlanta to get it here, because they love any excuse to come to Europe in general and Amsterdam in particular. I can't remember the last time I had a Dutch student there.
The Netherlands beats the US on all the issues Americans worry most about, such as healthcare and education, and more and more Americans are coming to Amsterdam for working vacations, or leveraging the knowledge gap to jumpstart their careers.
If you have a few years experience in any aspect of technology production, you can rule in any position from the C-level on down in any startup here, and when you go back, the experience of living and working abroad will put you 10 years ahead of your peers.
I just came back from the 360iDev conference in Denver, the first—and many say the best—iOS conference in the world, where 300 of the world's top App Makers gathered to share their pasts and plan their futures. You know what city they mentioned more than any other? Not London. Not San Francisco. Not Dublin. Not Berlin.
Amsterdam, where someone at every table was saying, "You have to go, and I have to go back." Amsterdam, home of CocoaPods, Sofa, and the New Lemurs. Amsterdam, the city that makes any job offer interesting. People here might not know what they have, but the people they envy do.
Two years ago, almost none of this was true. Appsterdam and the people who have followed its lead are chiefly responsible for this change. The University of Amsterdam measured it. The government knows it. Top down ecosystem designs just can't beat a true grassroots movement by passionate individuals.
If you've been here so long that you can't see how much the tech scene is blowing up, drop the lazy, outdated tropes, and come over to A Lab, the center of innovation in the heart of Europe's real technology landscape, which stretches from London to Berlin, from Amsterdam to Athens.