In the end, after three rounds of voting, it came down to a proverbial coin flip between the Dutch capital and an Italian fashion hub. The European Medicines Agency (EMA), charged with evaluating human and animal medicinal products for the European Union, will relocate to Amsterdam after it was selected in a draw of lots between it and Milan. The European Council announced the result on Monday evening after voting had taken place in Brussels. “It’s not very Dutch to be proud of the Netherlands,” says pharmacologist Adam Cohen, who heads the Centre for Human Drug Research in Leiden, the Netherlands. “But I always thought it was the best place for it.”
Among the European Union’s most important scientific agencies, EMA was seen as one of the biggest spoils up for grabs after the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union made its more-than-2-decade-old London location untenable. Set up in 1995, it employs about 900 people and hosts tens of thousands of visitors for hundreds of meetings each year.
Nineteen countries vied to be EMA’s new home, though three later dropped out. Candidate cities produced glossy videos and websites highlighting their international connections, quality of life, and international schools. But as is often the case in the European Union, much political horse-trading was also expected to play a role in the final decision. The council was also voting today on a new home for the European Banking Agency and no country was allowed to host both agencies.