Antwerp attracts 59 % more foreign investment and is also the runner-up in the ranking for strategic location policy

Antwerp attracts 59 % more foreign investment and is also the runner-up in the ranking for strategic location policy

Antwerp is the runner-up in the ‘strategy for attracting foreign investment’ category in fDi Intelligence’s prestigious ‘European Cities and Regions of the Future 2024/25’ rankings. Not only did the city achieve an excellent score in terms of strategy, the announced foreign investment amount also increased by 59 % in 2023. The city therefore once again proves itself to be the economic engine of Flanders.

Second place among cities up to two million inhabitants

Antwerp performed exceptionally and scored above average, earning a fine second place in the ‘strategy’ category among large cities of up to two million inhabitants in the annual rankings of fDi Intelligence, the knowledge centre of the British business newspaper The Financial Times. Antwerp’s overall performance showed a remarkable improvement. The city rose from fourth place in 2023 to an impressive second place in 2024. The results reflect the city’s commitment to economic growth and strategic development. In addition, Antwerp achieves another three places in the top ten of the fDi rankings in the ‘overall’, ‘economic potential’ and ‘connectivity’ categories. 

Successful strategic approach

The key to Antwerp’s success lies in its positioning as a world port city with a unique chemical cluster and in its positioning as an innovative powerhouse. The city has invested heavily during the last ten years in developing ecosystems and innovation hubs, where start-ups, scale-ups and established companies collaborate on breakthrough solutions. Antwerp is strengthening its distinctiveness in four key areas: sustainable chemistry, energy transition and hydrogen, technological innovation for port, industry and mobility, and innovation in health. By way of illustration, examples include the establishment of France’s Fairbrics and Britain’s Aquature in BlueChem, the incubator for sustainable chemistry, and the arrival of US pioneer PureCycle Technologies, which is building a polypropylene recycling plant in the NextGen District.

59 % more investments

Antwerp’s successful strategy is clearly bearing fruit. In 2023, 50 new investment projects poured in, good for a total of € 1.93 billion. This is an increase of no less than 59 % in the announced investment amount compared to 2022. The investments also created 629 new jobs, an increase of 19 %.

Alderwoman for economy, innovation and industry Erica Caluwaerts says: “Throughout its history, the city of Antwerp has recognised the importance of innovation to maintain its economic relevance. New technologies and new industries have always found their way to Antwerp, which has led to the largest petrochemical cluster in Europe. The city scores highly in terms of economic potential and connectivity and is in the top ten of the most promising investment destinations across Europe. We are therefore very honoured to have won second place in the ‘strategy large cities’ category.”

Read more about innovation and doing business in Antwerp.

More info on hubs in Antwerp: BlueApp, Blue Gate Antwerp, BlueHealth Innovation Center, BlueChem, Dunden, NextGen District, The Beacon.

Erica Caluwaerts Alderwoman for economy, work, innovation, industry, digitalisation, marketing and communication, public domain and litigation
Jill Cools Spokesperson of alderwoman Erica Caluwaerts

Header image: © Sigrid Spinnox.


About Business in Antwerp


As pocket-sized metropolis, Antwerp offers a myriad of opportunities. Located in the heart of Europe, the city is proud to be home to Europe’s second largest port and the continent’s top chemical cluster. Antwerp is also the diamond trade capital of the world  and Belgium’s favourite retail destination. Today the city is stepping up its game, with digital innovation, circularity, creativity and health forming the pillars on which its future economy is built. International and vibrant? Check. Innovative and creative? Check. Friendly and multi-cultural? Check. Antwerp has it all.