People & Talent

We are a city packed with human capital

It’s all about people

Life is good in Flanders. Unemployment is low, productivity is high, trust in the economy is rising and the wounds of the financial crisis have healed almost completely. In the midst of these uplifting economic factors, you’ll find a highly trained and well motivated workforce.

Antwerp has its own university with a great number of spin-offs and start-ups located nearby. But the appeal of the city reacher a lot wider. Many young graduates come to Antwerp to start their careers and their lives. 

Labour productivity

Labour productivity (gross domestic product per person employed)
  Euro / person employed
Prov. Antwerp 95 894
Belgium 84 359
European Union 66 617

An indicator for labour productivity is the gross domestic product per employed person. In order to make a comparison between different countries possible, the gross domestic product is expressed in ´purchasing power standard´ (purchasing power per capita). 

The labour productivity in the province of Antwerp is higher than the Flemish, Belgian and EU averages.

Labour productivity in the province of Antwerp is lower than in the economic world centres of London, Luxembourg, Brussels and Paris. Hamburg too scores better than Antwerp. Labour productivity in Antwerp is higher than in the other German and French cities and in the Dutch cities.

Language skills

Like the rest of Flanders, Antwerp is a Dutch-speaking city. The average Fleming, however, has a good command of several languages, most commonly English and French. However, many also have a command of German, Spanish and/or other languages. From an international perspective, language skills in Flanders are unique.

Highly skilled staff

Percentage of people aged 25-64 with tertiary education qualifications in 2013
Percentage of people aged 25-64 with tertiary education qualifications in 2013

Antwerp’s workforce is highly trained. Over 1 in 3 people aged between 25 and 64 have graduated from tertiary education. One university and several colleges in Antwerp educate nearly 40 000 students per year.

The university’s key research domains are in the fields of harbour & logistics, sustainability, science & engineering, and medical sciences.
In addition, Antwerp is home to a number of specialised knowledge centres linked to the university or the colleges.

Some differences between major cities underline this point:

Degree higher education (in%) Region
34,9 Province of Antwerp
34,4 Eindhoven region
30,1 Bayern
28,6 Lille
Source: Eurostat, 10/2017

Qualified schools

Accreditations & Rankings

The University of Antwerp was the first Belgian university to receive the renowned and prestigious international AACSB accreditations as well as AMBA for its MBA-degree. Its executive MBA program (89th place) as well as its Master in Management (29th place) are also ranked in the yearly Financial Times rankings. The University of Antwerp attained 13th place as well in the top 50 universities under 50 years in 2015..

The university’s key research domains are in the fields of harbour & logistics, sustainability, science & engineering, and medical sciences. In addition, Antwerp is home to a number of specialised knowledge centres linked to the university or the colleges.

Frontline Research Domains

  • Drug Discovery and Development
  • Ecology and Sustainable Development
  • Harbour, Transport and Logistics
  • Imaging
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Materials Characterisation
  • Neuroscience
  • Socio-Economic Policy and Organisation
  • Urban History and Contemporary Urban Policy







Expatriates and International Schools

Antwerp has four international schools specifically directed at the children of expatriates. They offer high-quality education paths from kindergarten up to and including a high school diploma offering access to the world’s top universities.

International Schools in Antwerp
DY Patil ABS Joint venture between Indian and British international school
  English language / Overseen by The University of Cambridge
The Antwerp International School (AIS) English language / CIS and NEASC accredited
Da Vinci International School Antwerp English language
Lycée Internationale d'Anvers french language (can be combined with English or Dutch) / MEN and AEFE accredited

Innovative frontrunner

Antwerp is the frontrunner in Belgium when it comes to knowledge-intensive high tech jobs.
There are 91,000 STEM employees (people with high tech jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics who are employed in all sectors, not just high-tech).

In the high tech industry, Antwerp is also in the fore. In the province of Antwerp there are 477,000 people with a final school certificate in the science and technology fields and/or people employed in this field – the highest number in

Human Resources in Science and Technology (in thousands) in 2013
  Total Diploma Profession Core
Belgium 2 872 2 474 1 640 1 242
Flanders 1 690 1 441 999 751
Antwerp province 477 402 288 213


Over 15,000 people in the province of Antwerp work in research and development. That is over a quarter of all the people in Flanders employed in R&D.

Work force in Research&Development in 2011
  Number Number FTE % Active population % Total employment
Belgium 94 424 62 895 1.94 2.09
Flanders 56 195 39 215 1.95 2.04
Antwerp province 15 195 11 235 1.98 2.11


The province of Antwerp devotes 1.9 billion euros to research and development. That is 23% of the Belgian total and 37% of the Flemish total, which puts Antwerp in first place in Flanders.

Expenditure on research and development in 2011
  Million EUR EUR / Resident % GDP
Belgium 8 171 742.8 2.21
Flanders 5 038 796.4 2.37
Antwerp province 1 889 1 065.30 2.75


The province of Antwerp is the frontrunner when it comes to the number of patent applications, with its 129 patent applications making up 25% of all such applications in Flanders. Over half of these patent applications were made by companies in the district of Antwerp.

Number of patent applications at EPO in 2010
  Total High tech ICT Biotech
Belgium 771,37 174,75 226,33 47,28
Flanders 508,15 126,1 167,89 20,14
Antwerp province 129,04 35,93 43,1 2,43
Antwerp district 78,06 19,18 22,48 1,58

The Flemish region belongs to the innovation leaders according to the Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2015 of the European Commission. Antwerp scores high in terms of budget spent on R&D per citizen compared to other European non-capital cities (source Eurostat - 2018).

Human Resources in Science & Technology

Antwerp has a large population of people who graduated with a degree in Science or Technology (source Eurostat - 2016).

This graph shows the percentage of the active population that has a degree in Science & Technology or works in this domain.

Titanium – that’s what Antwerp researcher Sammy Verbruggen can call himself from now. The bio-engineer has been selected by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) for inclusion in their alternative periodic table with 118 young scientists set to shape the future of chemistry.
Primark’s new Antwerp branch opens on the Meir on 30 April 2018. The popular Irish fashion brand has chosen Antwerp as the location for its Belgian flagship store.
In the past few months, Antwerp technology startups Rombit and Playpass received various (inter)national awards.

Labor cost

The labor cost in Antwerp lies 20% lower than Paris and 15% lower than London, even though Antwerp has one of the highest productivity ratio's and education-rates in the world.

This graph shows the average labor cost per FTE in companies with more than ten FTE's in the following sectors: industry, construction & services.

Paris 68 382
Brussels 67 818
London 63 328
Rotterdam 58 989
Hamburg 56 310
Antwerp 54 362
Source Eurostat (03/2016)

Higher education & research

The graph shows the percentage of people between 25 & 64 who attained a higher education degree.

The percentage of people with a higher education degree is high in Antwerp. 1 in 3 people in the region attained one at its various colleges and universities.

The graph shows the percentage of people between 25 & 64 who attained a higher education degree. Source: Eurostat (2016)

Various institutions

Overview of Antwerp institutions for higher education


Universiteit Antwerpen

Business School

Antwerp Management School


AP Hogeschool Antwerpen


Karel de Grote-Hogeschool Antwerpen


Thomas More Antwerpen


Instituut voor Tropische Geneeskunde


Hogere Zeevaartschool Antwerpen


Next to these also the highest ranked Belgian university, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, has several colleges in the city.

Rankings & accreditations

  • Top 50 universities under 50 years

The University of Antwerp ranks 13th in the Top 50 universities under 50 years in 2015.





Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU)



The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hong Kong


KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology

South Korea


City University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong


Pohang University of Science And Technology (POSTECH)

South Korea


The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Hong Kong


University of Bath

United Kingdom


Maastricht University



Universidad Autónoma de Madrid



Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona



Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)



University of Calgary



University of Antwerp



University of Technology Sydney



University of Tsukuba



Loughborough University

United Kingdom


University of Wollongong



Ben Gurion University of The Negev



University of Surrey

United Kingdom


National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taiwan Tech)



  • Financial Times Ranking Business Schools

De Financial Times Ranking is one of the most renowned ranking for international business schools. In the last couple of years Antwerp Management School was listed both in the general ‘European Business School Ranking’ (2015: position 45) as the ‘Executive MBA’ ranking (2015: position 33)  and the ‘Master in Management’ (2015: position 30). Source:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

The university of Antwerp attained the prestigious accreditation 'Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business' (AACSB) for her management degrees in the faculty Economic Sciences and for the Antwerp Management School. The University of Antwerp is the first Belgian university to receive this accreditation. AACSB is the oldest (1916) and the most renowned accreditation-organisation in the world, worldwide reaching 746 accredited members. (Source: Antwerp Management School)

  • Association of Masters in Business Administration (AMBA)

AMBA, the Association of Masters in Business Administration, is the British authority on MBA-certificates worldwide. Antwerp Management School offers an Executive MBA program , together with IBS (Moskou). Antwerp Management School received the AMBA accreditation in 2015. (Source: Antwerp Management School)

Key research domains

  • Drug Discovery and Development
  • Ecology and Sustainable Development
  • Harbour, Transport and Logistics
  • Imaging
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Materials Characterisation
  • Neuroscience
  • Socio-Economic Policy and Organisation
  • Urban History and Contemporary Urban Policy

Faculties in the spotlight

Design Science

The faculty offers specialised programmes in product development, architecture and renovation. Priority is given to an interdisciplinary approach to material culture, designs, and people and their surroundings.


The faculty looks at fashion as an expression of the emotions from our time , as a relationship between clothes, the body and society, as an artistic and creative enterprise.

Centre for Maritime and Air Transport Management

The main objective of the programme is to help executive staff members from transport-related companies and organisations (shipping companies, port authorities, terminal operators, airlines, airports etc.) to become top-notch executives and researchers in the field. It is specifically designed with an international audience in mind and aimed at individuals with a background in economics or management focusing on transport-related matters

Knowledge Community Creative Industries and Fashion Management

The knowledge community creativity and fashion managements goal is to deepen and develop actual knowledge for creative sector organizations. We use this knowledge to help organizations with the development and growth of their creative competencies.

Global Supply Chain Management

Today, the logistics sector is continuously increasing worldwide and supply chain functions are rapidly gaining importance in international companies. Antwerp being a large port city is the perfect place to learn about supply chain management. 


China-Europe business

If you want to enhance your hands-on management skills and competences, particularly in the Chinese and European market, this unique Master is ideal for you. A joint initiative of two leading business schools, this stimulating program will guide you in the discovery of your personal strengths and prepare you for a booming career in international business.

Silversmith Nedda El-Asmar designs timeless objects. She has designed for big names such as Hermès, Serax and Magnitude.
Antwerp-based medical device company Novosanis has proven its worth by launching innovative medical devices on the market.
Antwerp native Dries Buytaert is the only Belgian to ever make the ‘Top Young Entrepreneurs of Tech’ list of Businessweek magazine.