What is the Amsterdam Exchange?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 08 January 2019
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The term “Amsterdam Exchange” may describe the former Amsterdam Stock Exchange or a stock market index based on blue chip stocks in Dutch companies traded in Amsterdam and beyond and managed by Euronext, a pan-European stock exchange. The meaning intended is usually clear from the context. If there is confusion about whether people are referring to a stock exchange or a stock market index, clarification can be requested.

In terms of the historic stock exchange, the Amsterdam Exchange was founded in 1602 by the Dutch East India Company, and it is believed to be the oldest example of a stock exchange in the world. Once established, the offerings of the exchange widened considerably over time and it became a highly active stock exchange and commercial hub, boosting the economy of Amsterdam and contributing to the growth of merchantile classes in the Netherlands. In 2000, the Amsterdam Exchange merged with several other European stock exchanges to form Euronext.

Euronext spans multiple European markets and exchanges, taking advantage of the structure of the European Union's economy. It offers a wide array of investment products, and maintains branches where former stock exchanges were once located. The former Amsterdam Exchange, for example, is now known as Euronext Amsterdam. Bringing multiple exchanges together has allowed for more flexibility among investors in addition to contributing to the economic integration of the European Union, one of the stated goals spelled out when the Union was initially established.


In the 1980s, a stock market index representing the largest 25 companies traded on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange was developed, and in the 1990s it came to be known as the Amsterdam Exchange or AEX. Like other stock market indices, the purpose of the AEX is to act as a stock market indicator; when the companies it tracks experience shifts, it can suggest that there is movement in the market. Companies listed in this index may also be deemed particularly good investments because their size implies a certain amount of stability. Because the Amsterdam Exchange has merged into Euronext, Euronext is responsible for management of the AEX.

In the case of the stock exchange, Euronext Amsterdam continues to play a role in the economies of Amsterdam and Europe in general. The AEX includes Dutch companies such as Unilever, TomTom, Philips, Royal Dutch Shell, Aegon, Boskalis, and Heineken. In addition to being an important indicator for Dutch economic health, the AEX is also used as a major index by Euronext.



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